People calling themselves dentists appeared in the late 1700s, though the profession wouldn’t be licensed for about 100 years. Before dentistry was licensed, doctors addressed tooth health. And before there were doctors, things were pretty dicey.
If you think going to the dentist today is scary, imagine a guy with a bloody apron approaching you with a pair of forceps, a pen knife, and no anesthesia. The early days of dentistry were beleaguered by a lack of knowledge and a belief that before anything could get better, blood had to flow.
These scary photos show how tooth extraction was terrifying from the late 19th century to early years of the 20th century.