Giant Ceramic Molar with 'Fight the Tooth Worm' Image
Date: early 20th Century
Dimensions: H 19 cm W 7 cm D 8 cm
This large French molar is in perfect condition, made from some kind of clay or ceramic, it looks real with exact replica forms of somebody's molar, only a lot bigger, in a not so common color and decorated with a slightly creepy image.
The image on this giant molar, called 'The Tooth Worm as Hell’s Demon' shows tiny humans among the flames of hell and it revers to an explanation of the toothache as a battle occurring with the mythical tooth worm.
For centuries, the tooth worm played a mythical role as the primary cause of dental disease, first appearing in a Mesopotamian text around 5,000 BC. References to tooth worms can be found in China, Egypt and India long before the belief came to Western Europe in the 8th century.
Treatment of tooth worms varied depending on the severity of the patient’s pain. Often, practitioners would try to ‘smoke’ the worm out, afterwards, the hole was filled with mild narcotic herbs. Many times, though, the achy tooth had to be removed altogether. Some tooth-pullers mistook nerves for tooth worms, and extracted both the tooth and the nerve in it, what was certainly an extremely painful procedure in a period before anaesthetics.
Despite the discovery that toothache has nothing to do with worms, many people continued to believe in the existence of tooth worms even into the 20th century.
A perfect addition to your curiosity cabinet
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