Pauls Stradins Museum for history of medicine

On Display at the Museum: A 400-Year-Old Tooth Extraction Instrument!

The collection of dentistry instruments at the Jānis Stradiņš Museum of the History of Medicine has been significantly supplemented with a tool that was used in the late 17th or early 18th century. 

The tool is known as a pelican, because it resembles the beak of that particular bird. The “pelican” was used in Western Europe to extract teeth from the 14th century until the late 18th century. We know that there were some 20 surgeons in Latvia at the turn of the 17th century who had studied in Western Europe and, therefore, also used this type of instrument. This was an enormously painful process, it must be said, and patients often suffered various complications, including facial paralysis or even death.

The extraction tool will be put on permanent display on December 21. The museum is thankful to all donors who helped to obtain the “pelican” and other objects for the museum. In this particular case, the item was purchased with the support of the SIROWA Rīga dental clinic. It was established in 1994, and it is one of the highest-level dental clinics in the Baltic States, offering tooth implantation, false teeth, oral surgery, as well as dental services under general anaesthesia. 

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