Page:EB1911 - Volume 08.djvu/65

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50
DENTIL—DENTISTRY

him sitting on the hearth and preparing his simple meal of roasted turnips. He refused their gifts, saying that earthen dishes were good enough for him, adding that he preferred ruling those who possessed gold to possessing it himself. It is also said that he died so poor that the state was obliged to provide dowries for his daughters. But these and similar anecdotes must be received with caution, and it should be remembered that what was a competence in his day would have been considered poverty by the Romans of later times.

Livy, epitome, 11-14; Polybius ii. 19; Eutropius ii. 9, 14; Florus i. 18; Val. Max. iv. 3, 5, vi. 3, 4; Cicero, De senectute, 16; Juvenal xi. 78; Plutarch, Pyrrhus, 25.


DENTIL (from Lat. dens, a tooth), in architecture, a small tooth-shaped block used as a repeating ornament in the bed-mould of a cornice. Vitruvius (iv. 2) states that the dentil represents the end of a rafter (asser); and since it occurs in its most pronounced form in the Ionic temples of Asia Minor, the Lycian tombs and the porticoes and tombs of Persia, where it represents distinctly the reproduction in stone of timber construction, there is but little doubt as to its origin. The earliest example is that found on the tomb of Darius, c. 500 B.C., cut in the rock in which the portico of his palace is reproduced. Its first employment in Athens is in the cornice of the caryatid portico or tribune of the Erechtheum (480 B.C.). When subsequently introduced into the bed-mould of the cornice of the choragic monument of Lysicrates it is much smaller in its dimensions. In the later temples of Ionia, as in the temple of Priene, the larger scale of the dentil is still retained. As a general rule the projection of the dentil is equal to its width, and the intervals between to half the width. In some cases the projecting band has never had the sinkings cut into it to divide up the dentils, as in the Pantheon at Rome, and it is then called a dentil-band. The dentil was the chief decorative feature employed in the bed-mould by the Romans and the Italian Revivalists. In the porch of the church of St John Studius at Constantinople, the dentil and the interval between are equal in width, and the interval is splayed back from top to bottom; this is the form it takes in what is known as the “Venetian dentil,” which was copied from the Byzantine dentil in Santa Sophia, Constantinople. There, however, it no longer formed part of a bed-mould: its use at Santa Sophia was to decorate the projecting moulding enclosing the encrusted marbles, and the dentils were cut alternately on both sides of the moulding. The Venetian dentil was also introduced as a label round arches and as a string course.


DENTISTRY (from Lat. dens, a tooth), a special department of medical science, embracing the structure, function and therapeutics of the mouth and its contained organs, Historical sketch. specifically the teeth, together with their surgical and prosthetic treatment. (For the anatomy of the teeth see Teeth.) As a distinct vocation it is first alluded to by Herodotus (500 B.C.). There are evidences that at an earlier date the Egyptians and Hindus attempted to replace lost teeth by attaching wood or ivory substitutes to adjacent sound teeth by means of threads or wires, but the gold fillings reputed to have been found in the teeth of Egyptian mummies have upon investigation been shown to be superficial applications of gold leaf for ornamental purposes. The impetus given to medical study in the Grecian schools by the followers of Aesculapius and especially Hippocrates (500 to 400 B.C.) developed among the practitioners of medicine and surgery considerable knowledge of dentistry. Galen (A.D. 131) taught that the teeth were true bones existing before birth, and to him is credited the belief that the upper canine teeth receive branches from the nerve which supplies the eye, and hence should be called “eye-teeth.” Abulcasis (10th cent. A.D.) describes the operation by which artificial crowns are attached to adjacent sound teeth. Vesalius (1514), Ambroise Paré, J. J. Scaliger, T. Kerckring, M. Malpighi, and lesser anatomists of the same period contributed dissertations which threw some small amount of light upon the structure and functions of the teeth. The operation of transplanting teeth is usually attributed to John Hunter (1728-1793), who practised it extensively, and gave to it additional prominence by transplanting a human tooth to the comb of a cock, but the operation was alluded to by Ambroise Paré (1509-1590), and there is evidence to show that it was practised even earlier. A. von Leeuwenhoek in 1678 described with much accuracy the tubular structure of the dentine, thus making the most important contribution to the subject which had appeared up to that time. Until the latter part of the 18th century extraction was practically the only operation for the cure of toothache.

The early contributions of France exerted a controlling influence upon the development of dental practice. Urbain Hémard, surgeon to the cardinal Georges of Armagnac, whom Dr Blake (1801) calls an ingenious surgeon and a great man, published in 1582 his Researches upon the Anatomy of the Teeth, their Nature and Properties. Of Hémard, M. Fauchard says: “This surgeon had read Greek and Latin authors, whose writings he has judiciously incorporated in his own works.” In 1728 Fauchard, who has been called the father of modern dentistry, published his celebrated work, entitled Le Chirurgien Dentiste ou traité des dents. The preface contains the following statement as to the existing status of dental art and science in France, which might have been applied with equal truth to any other European country:—“The most celebrated surgeons having abandoned this branch of surgery, or having but little cultivated it, their negligence gave rise to a class of persons who, without theoretic knowledge or experience, and without being qualified, practised it at hazard, having neither principles nor system. It was only since the year 1700 that the intelligent in Paris opened their eyes to these abuses, when it was provided that those who intended practising dental surgery should submit to an examination by men learned in all the branches of medical science, who should decide upon their merits.” After the publication of Fauchard’s work the practice of dentistry became more specialized and distinctly separated from medical practice, the best exponents of the art being trained as apprentices by practitioners of ability, who had acquired their training in the same way from their predecessors. Fauchard suggested porcelain as an improvement upon bone and ivory for the manufacture of artificial teeth, a suggestion which he obtained from R. A. F. de Réaumur, the French savant and physicist, who was a contributor to the royal porcelain manufactory at Sévres. Later, Duchateau, an apothecary of St Germain, made porcelain teeth, and communicated his discovery to the Academy of Surgery in 1776, but kept the process secret. Du Bois Chémant carried the art to England, and the process was finally made public by M. Du Bois Foucou. M. Fonzi improved the art to such an extent that the Athenaeum of Arts in Paris awarded him a medal and crown (March 14, 1808).

In Great Britain the 19th century brought the dawning of dental science. The work of Dr Blake in 1801 on the anatomy of the teeth was distinctly in advance of anything previously written on the subject. Joseph Fox was one of the first members of the medical profession to devote himself exclusively to dentistry, and his work is a repository of the best practice of his time. The processes described, though comparatively crude, involve principles in use at the present time. Thomas Bell, the successor of Fox as lecturer on the structure and disease of the teeth at Guy’s Hospital, published his well-known work in 1829. About this period numerous publications on dentistry made their appearance, notably those of Koecker, Johnson and Waite, followed somewhat later by the admirable work of Alexander Nasmyth (1839). By this time Cuvier, Serres, Rousseau, Bertin, Herissant and others in France had added to the knowledge of human and comparative dental anatomy, while M. G. Retzius, of Sweden, and E. H. Weber, J. C. Rosenmüller, Schreger, J. E. von Purkinje, B. Fraenkel and J. Müller in Germany were carrying forward the same lines of research. The sympathetic nervous relationships of the teeth with other parts of the body, and the interaction of diseases of the teeth with general pathological conditions, were clearly established. Thus a scientific foundation was laid, and dentistry came to be practised as a specialty of medicine. Certain minor operations, however, such as the extraction of teeth and the stopping of caries in an imperfect way, were still practised by barbers, and the empirical practice of dentistry, especially of