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Hackett, John; Gammon, Roland; Ross, Sayre; Breslow, Sally (ed.) / See
Vol. 10, No. 5 (Sept. 1951)

How you look to your dentist,   pp. 20-21 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 20

PATIENT PARTS WITH A TOOTH
DETECTION
INSPECTION
E VERY weekday at 9 A.M., 76,000 well-starched U. S.
dentists step into immaculate oflices, take up probe
and mouth mirror and ask their supine and palpitating
patients to "Open wider, please."
As the pictures on these pages show, the resulting facial
expressions are among the oddest ever registered by rub-
ber-visaged humanity.
The dentist's professional viewpoint is one shared only
by his nurse; only he and she know what people really
look like in the chair. At any rate, that was the case until
SEE photographer Kenneth Poli took a stance between
a New York dentist and his nurse and looked down at the
weirdest assortment of gawks and grimaces, yawns and
apertures he had ever seen.
Fright, resentment, awe and steely resolve played over
the features of patients who included a salesman, house-
wife, coed, druggist, model and radio producer. Only ner-
vous preoccupation with their own jabbing pain prevented
them from appreciating the tragi-comic performance they
were giving.
Dreaded by most patients (the pulp-and-enamel-encased
blood and nerve vessels of. the teeth are the body's most
sensitive), dentistry, nonetheless, is enjoying a boom. Last
year American dentists treated nearly 50 per cent more
patients than ten years ago and filled 40 per cent more
cavities-no fewer than 150 million.
Moreover, the average dentist, grossing $14,000 a year,
is treating nearly 600 patients annually. where 20 years
ago he treated only 429.
Approximately 11,000 pre-dental students sought col-
lege admission in 1950 when U. S. -dentists grossed one
billion dollars, but the demand for dentistry continues
to exceed the supply. American youngsters alone have
more than 300,000,000 unfilled cavities in their mouths;
adults have 285,000,000 more. Meanwhile, tooth decay is
increasing six times as fast as cavities can be filled.
Today, what with such advances as sharper burrs, local
anaesthetics, floridation of community water supplies and
a growing dentist-going population of 65,000,000, just
about the only remaining constants in modern dentistry
are the average patient's cringing approach to the chair
and his ill-concealed expressions of dismay once he is in it.
INJECTION
<1
EJECTION
REFLECTION
WHOLEHEARTED, OPEN-MOUTHED COOPERATION IS REGISTERED BY BRAVELY-RESIGNED PATIENT AS TARTAR SCRAPER IS APPLIED TO TEETH
20
How You look To Your Dentist
65,000,000 WARY PATIENTS HOPE AGAINST- HOPE, "IT WON'T HURT A BIT!"


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