Given enough time, everything evolves, and the medical sector today is one that changes incredibly quickly. Every day, new tools and procedures are developed. Dentistry is one of the oldest medical specialties. In order to stop serious illness and infection from tooth decay, dentists were extracting decayed teeth and even drilling out cavities long before your doctor could prescribe appropriate therapies. Yet, some of the dental chairs are very different from what you would find in dental offices nowadays.
The 1700s chair pictured above was converted from a barber’s chair to a dental chair. At the period, barbers served as rudimentary surgeons and physicians, performing bloodlettings and using leaches, among other antiquated medical procedures. Some even carried out tooth extractions, which were nearly never done under any kind of anesthesia. In order to accommodate the patient’s neck, note the inverted half circle. That was not likely to be cozy.
Although it is likewise made of wood and doesn’t seem to be very comfortable, this chair has a novel reclining mechanism that should make it less unpleasant for the patient’s neck.
Just picture getting your teeth extracted in the plush velvet chair up top! The carved seat certainly has a very Victorian feel to it and appears as though it might recline. For such sophisticated dental office equipment, money must have been no object.
With a leather seat and back, reclining capabilities, and even a foot rest for the patients, the Victorian dental chair pictured above had to be top of the line.
The elegant Victorian chair pictured above has a rattan footrest, crimson velvet fabric, and an iron frame. This can also be seen in abundance in a classy dental clinic.
Dental drills were driven by a foot crank, much like treadle sewing machines of the 19th century. Take a moment to consider how slow it would have been. Yowch. As may be seen in this scenario, several dentists at the time would open up shop at the neighborhood pharmacy.
Although it reclines, this dentist chair is made entirely of wood, so it probably wasn’t very comfortable for lengthy procedures. Ironically, the drill next to it appears to be electric, which is a blessing.
In the image above, two dental hygienists are shown treating children side by side around 1920. Again, those seem to be some fairly flimsy wooden chairs. While none of us prefer other hobbies over going to the dentist, we are grateful for all the contemporary amenities the dental office has to offer.
This chair has an iron frame, a leather seat, and a rattan back, just like its forebears. The lights, however, are really classy, consisting of two glass globes on a decorative metal pedestal.