Barber, blacksmith, or dentist?
In 2017, the American magazine True West quoted Professor Joanna Bourke, a British historian interested in dentistry. She says, “The excruciating toothaches, horrific extractions, and barbaric tools have cast a great shadow over our dental past. ” It is understandable why dental problems were rampant; this was because the people were not hygienic, making them susceptible to dental problems. When someone had a cavity, pulling out their tooth with plyer was the standard procedure, which came with excruciating pain.
The methods that were used in the Old West certainly did not help to restore this bad reputation. In fact, if you needed dental treatment at the time, you had to go to the barber or the blacksmith, there were no dentists, so they did it with the means at hand. Unfortunately, some of these men were so clumsy that you could end up with a dislocated or even downright broken jaw. They thought they could help since dentists were not available during that time and that the people in the Wild West had no alternative. After pulling out people’s teeth, they used whiskey to help stop the bleeding. Life in the Wild West was indeed wild!