The development of dentistry : a Scottish perspective circa 1800-1921
Having established the antiquity of dentistry and its relationship to medicine, this thesis examines its development in Scotland from the unique origins in Glasgow of the Royal Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh, to the legitimization of the profession by State intervention in 1921. Although an LDS qualification was available in 1860 from the Royal College of Surgeons, England, the introduction of the Dentists Act of 1878 and the establishment of a Register, brought about through the efforts of the Reform Movement, did not eradicate the practice of dentistry by the unregistered. Their numbers continued to multiply as a result of urban migration, socio-economic changes and industrialisation. Changes in the dietary habits of the Scottish people and in the methods of food production, contributed to an increase in the prevalence of dental caries as well as in the demand for dental treatment among all classes of the population, as epidemiological surveys and Government inquiries showed. The introduction of a school dental service resulted, when attention was focused on the poor dental standards of the recruits following the defeats of the British Forces in the Boer Wars. The resultant Government inquiry into the state of dentistry revealed the deplorable state of the nation's teeth and the inability of the Scottish working classes and the disadvantaged to afford dental treatment from qualified practitioners. In the aftermath of the 1914-18 War, public opinion was conducive to the idea of social welfare and public health thus paving the way for the legalization by the State of the dental profession by virtue of the Dentists Act of 1921.