So, I have a dentist appointment in the morning. I really, really hate going to the dentist.
But you know what’s worse that going to the dentist? Going to the dentist 300 years ago.
If you have any doubts, just consider this painting from Jan Miense Molenaer. Oh, sure, it looks hilarious. Unless you’re the poor fool in the dentist chair.
Get this, from “The Art of Analysis” on that painting: “Dentists were known to not only steal your teeth, but steal your money too during this time period. Dressing the dentist in formal attire illustrates the elaborate show that the quacky dentist puts forth. As he barbarically yanks teeth out with a pair of pliers, at least he portrays himself elegantly enough to have expertise in the matter.”
Ah, yes. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
Amsterdam in its Golden Age would have been an interesting time, dentally speaking. It was, at the time, the center of the world’s sugar refining industry. And we all know what good that does for teeth. I imagine there would have been some sort of explosion in tooth rot going on, along with an accompanying boom in tooth extraction and assorted unctions that promised to make the pain go away. And concurrently, Holland was the place where microscopes were being pioneered. So at the very same time, people like Antony van Leeuwenhoek were discovering the bacteria that were the culprit for everything.
Yeah, but anyway. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow. Thoughts and prayers.