For the same audience that made Richard Gordon's The Alarming History of Medicine a huge success, comes this informative and humorous look at the history of dentistryThe legion of dental phobics — and others whose whine rises in tandem with that of the drill — would do well to stifle their terror and instead offer thanks to Apollonia, the patron saint of toothache sufferers, that they face only fleeting discomfort, rather than the disfiguring distress or slow agonizing death oft meted out by dental care providers of the past. The transition from yesterday's ignorance, misapprehension, and superstition to the enlightened and nerve-deadened protocols of today has been a long, slow, and very painful process.

The Excruciating History of Dentistry contains, among others, the following facts:
— Among the toothache remedies favored by Pierre Fauchard, the father of dentistry, was rinsing the mouth liberally with one's own urine
— George Washington never had wooden teeth; however, his chronic dental problems may have impacted the outcome of the American Revolution
— Soldiers in the Civil War needed at least two opposing front teeth to rip open powder envelopes, so some men called up for induction had their front teeth extracted to avoid service

James Wynbrandt has written a delightfully witty and amazingly thorough history of dentistry — one that no dentist or patient should do without.