Advertisement for Mr P B André, 'Surgeon & Mechanical Dentist'
Printer: Slatter, W.
Medium: Print on paper
Before 1858, there was no dental school in England nor any regulation of the profession, making it very easy for an untrained person to advertise and operate as a dentist. The Dentists Act of 1878 established a Register of existing practitioners and specified that no-one without dental or medical qualifications could be registered or use the title 'dentist' or 'dental practitioner'. Unregistered persons might still practise under alternative titles such as 'dental specialist', 'dental consultant' or 'dental expert'.
For both reputable dentist and charlatan the main profits came from the sale of false teeth - prominently illustrated here by the qualified surgeon and mechanical dentist, Mr P B André. By the end of the 19th century dentures made of vulcanised rubber could be moulded and coloured to match the natural gum and fitted with porcelain teeth. These might "not only restore the features, but [perfect] mastication and articulation", as stated here. In the final decades of the century dentists were also able to offer nitrous oxide gas as an anaesthetic for the painless extraction of teeth. Mr André, who offers such an operation and the promise of the better teeth, might expect to have a profitable business.