VCU Libraries Gallery

Tools of the Trade

BH45 Dental Tools

The equipment in a dentist’s kit depended on where he was stationed. A dental officer on the front lines might have only a simple surgery and extraction kit, whereas an officer at a base hospital would have had a much more elaborate setup. The average military dentist on the front lines would have possessed tools like those presented here. With these instruments, a dentist would not have been able to perform much more than a simple filling or extraction.

Drill - These are pieces of a drill similar to what would have been used during the war. It was powered by a system of pulleys connected to a foot pedal.

Pliers – Pliers are used for extracting teeth. Often, pliers would be made in large sets with an individual pair corresponding to almost every tooth in the mouth.

Pluggers and Probes – Unlike earlier instruments, these tools were often a simple all-steel construction, allowing them to be effectively sterilized.