Saturday, February 14, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Dental Trivia

This past week was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. To celebrate, most employers give their workers something that we in the dental world enjoy on a regular basis: a four-day work week!

Although there are more books written about this man than any other American, here are a few nuggets you might not have known:
  • A dentist broke off part of Lincoln's jaw bone while pulling a tooth without anesthesia. The extraction may have taken place in Louisville, KY in Sept. 1841.
  • It has been said that Lincoln was afraid of dentists, which would make sense given what you just learned. In 1862 Lincoln developed a severe toothache and consulted Dr. G. S. Wolf, who had an office near the White House. As Wolf prepared to pull the tooth, Lincoln asked him to wait. Lincoln "took a container of chloroform from his pocket, inhaled it deeply, and sleepily gave the signal for the dentist to proceed."
  • During his campaign for the Presidency, Lincoln liked to recount how during his childhood he was kicked in the teeth by a horse and "apparently killed for a time." I bet if you asked him he'd tell you the experience was a good preparation for a life in politics.
  • Honest Abe, centuries ahead of his time, was the first to sport a "gangsta grill" when he dawned the flashy chompers for the music video debut of his 1859 hit single "Get Ur Union On."
All information was taken from and, except for that last one about the music video. That was actually something I learned from my own research, so, if you need a citation for a research paper, just write "Dental Ninja" and I'm sure it will be fine.

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