The Poet Laureate of Dentistry

Note: after preparing this post, I realized that Paul had posted about the same thing two years ago. So consider this a repost.

Soylman Brown (1790-1876) was a Connecticut dentist who achieved prominence in his profession for a number of reasons. According to Wikipedia, he founded the first dental school, the first national dental society, and the first US dental journal. Plus, he became known as the Poet Laureate of Dentistry on account of his fifty-four page poem titled Dentologia - A Poem on Diseases of the Teeth, and Their Proper Remedies. It was published in 1840.

If you've got some time to kill, you can read the entire poem at the Internet Archive. Otherwise, I've sampled a brief part of it below, which should be enough to give you its general tone.

The first dentition asks our earliest care,
For oft, obstructed nature, laboring there,
Demands assistance of experienced art,
And seeks from science her appointed part.
Perhaps ere yet the infant tongue can tell
The seat of anguish that it knows too well,
Some struggling tooth, just bursting into day,
Obtuse and vigorous, urges on its way,
While inflammation, pain, and bitter cries,
And flooding tears, in sad succession rise.

The lancet, then, alone can give relief,
And mitigate the helpless sufferer's grief;
But no unpractised hand should guide the steel
Whose polished point must carry wo or weal:—
With nicest skill the dentist's hand can touch,
And neither wound too little nor too much.
     Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 22, 2020
     Category: Poetry | Nineteenth Century | Teeth

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