Medicine: House-to-House Dentists

The first real dentists in this country were two Frenchmen who arrived during the Revolutionary War with Rochambeau's fleet. Before that, and long afterwards, barbers, blacksmiths and jewelers pulled the teeth and made the plates of the colonists. Those "tooth-drawers" traveled from house to house, farm to farm, town to town. In their packs they carried an assortment of human, calf and hippopotamus teeth.

Last week the arrest of four men in Albany, N. Y. revealed that this sort of itinerant dentistry is still going on, despite the fact that 59,000 U. S. graduate dentists...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!