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Get your teeth into Wellcome’s new exhibition

Wellcome Collection’s new exhibition is the first to trace the evolution of our relationship with our teeth, the dental profession and the pursuit of a pain-free mouth.

Credit: Wellcome
Dentures from the British Dental Association Museum
Credit: Wellcome Dentures from the British Dental Association Museum

‘Teeth’ (opens in a new tab) examines the tensions surrounding tooth care, whether for health, comfort or confidence, and the origins of dentistry.

The exhibition features over 150 objects, including paintings and caricatures, ancient protective amulets, toothpaste advertisements and a range of chairs, drills and training tools.

As the only visible part of the human skeleton, teeth are intrinsically linked to identity, both individual and cultural, and say a lot about who we are. The exhibition explores the lengths some people will go to for a perfect smile, and how teeth provide vital forensic clues in the aftermath of warfare or natural catastrophe.

5 things you need to see at the Teeth exhibition:

Exhibition highlights include:

  • Pierre Fauchard’s ’Le Chirugien-Dentiste’ (the Surgeon-Dentist) the first scientific treatise on teeth in 1728
  • the hygiene set used by Queen Victoria’s dentist
  • Napoleon Bonaparte’s toothbrush
  • an ancient Mayan tooth inlayed with precious jade
  • a set of contemporary gold Grillz
  • giant teeth and oversized tools used for training dentists. 

‘Teeth’ is curated by James Peto and Emily Scott-Dearing. It was inspired by ’The Smile Stealers’ (opens in a new tab) by Richard Barnett, published by Thames & Hudson in association with Wellcome Collection

The exhibition runs from 17 May 2017 to 16 September 2018.

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