Early dental instruments
The early makers of dental instruments had centuries of knowledge and experience upon which to draw: goldsmiths for wire and plate work; sword smiths and cutlers for turning iron into steel for use in sharp and strong cutting instruments; ivory carvers for gouges and chisels; clock and instrument makers for drills and pliers and finally the blacksmith for forging keys and forceps. All were adapted to meet the needs of the dental surgeon and show design for a specific purpose. The development of the pelican, dental extraction key, pincers and elevators led to Sir John Tomes’ anatomical forceps. In conservative dentistry, steel instruments were found to corrode with the new synthetic porcelain and were replaced with ones tipped with a neutral material such as tortoise-shell, ivory or agate.