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Type > Tools & Equipment > Tooth key

Accession # SRM1983-72.5

Tooth key

19th century


A tooth key, also known as a dental key, was used to extract diseased teeth. Before the discovery of antibiotics, extraction was the preferred method of preventing further infection caused by diseased teeth. Modeled after the shape of a door key, the tooth key was fastened around a tooth and the handle was then rotated in order to loosen the tooth from the jaw. Unfortunately, this often resulted in the tooth breaking at the base, the jaw being fractured and/or damage to the soft tissue in the mouth.




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