This achingly jawdropping book follows the evolution of dentistry throughout the world from the Bronze Age to the present day, presenting captivating and grim illustrations of the tools and techniques of dentistry through the ages. Organized chronologically, The Smile Stealers interleaves beautiful and gruesome technical illustrations and paintings from the Wellcome Collection’s unique archive of material from Europe, America and the Far East with seven authoritative and eloquent themed articles from medical historian Richard Barnett. A comprehensive review of the development of the trade and discipline of dentistry, it covers topics as diverse as the very first dentures (produced by the Etruscans in the seventh century bce); the smile revolution in 18th-century portraiture; and the role of dentistry in forensic science – all in one beautifully illustrated volume.
Extending the cult of the medically macabre begun by its predecessors The Sick Rose and Crucial Interventions, The Smile Stealers is guaranteed to appeal to lovers of the horrific and the beautiful alike as it probes the growth of dentistry – from pulling out bad teeth to reconstructing jaws, and from painful action to pain-free interventions and the pursuit of the perfect smile.
'I love the thought of The Smile Stealers being casually left in dentists’ waiting rooms … It is gory, beautiful, probing'
'Magnificent … All human life is here – the pain, the suffering and the happiness summed up in the ecstasy of a toothsome smile'
Will Self, Guardian
Times Literary Supplement