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FAUCHARD, Pierre (1678-1761)

Le chirurgien dentiste, ou Traité des dents. Ou l’on enseigne les moyens de les entretenir propres & saines, de les embellir, d’en réparer la perte & de remedier à leurs maladies, à celles des Gencives & aux accidens qui peuvent survenir aux autres parties voisines des Dents. Avec des Observations & des Reflexions sur plusieurs cas singuliers. Tome Premier - Second.
Paris, Jean Mariette, 1728.

First edition of Fauchard’s pioneering work in the field of modern dentistry, ”one of the greatest books in the history of the subject” (Garrison-Morton). Fauchard’s Le chirurgien dentiste was the first work on the subject to synthesize the theoretical and practical knowledge of dentistry available to him at the time. ”Before Fauchard’s time the profession of dentistry was truly a ’mystery’, for its practitioners had steadfastly refrained from publishing details of their technique and equipment. Fauchard summarized in his pages with numerous illustrations all that was best in practice of his day and disclosed what had been hitherto jealously guarded secrets. Le Chirirgien Dentiste . . . is in fact the first scientific work on its subject, and modern dentistry begins with its publication” (Prining and the Mind of Man). ”Le chirurgien dentiste discussed every aspect of dentistry with extraordinary thoroughness, and the book was profusely illustrated. In the first volume Fauchard gave a good description of the anatomy of the teeth, set forth rules for their cleaning and preservation, commented that neglect of the teeth is the chief cause of their decay, and devoted a chapter to tartar. He classified dental maladies into three groups and identified more than one hundred morbid conditions. The second volume was entirely devoted to operative dentistry, orthodontics, and in particular prosthetics, the branch of dentistry concerned with false teeth, bridgework, and the like. As a result of Fauchard´s comprehensive treatment of his subject, his book became the first worthwile textbook of dentistry” (Nigel Phillips).

Collation: Volume I: pp (48), 456, (32). Frontispiece portrait of the author engraved by J. B. Scotin after J. Le Bel. With 8 engraved plates, the first signed P. Belhomme delineavit, I. B. Scoitin sculpsit; Volume II: pp (10), 346, (24), final blank leaf. With 32 engraved plates numbered 9-40.

Binding: Two volumes. Contemporary half calf, richly gilt spines, marbled endpapers.

Provenance: Inscribed on front free endpaper by the author: ”envoié à Monsieur Laudumiey par l’auteur.” Laudumiey, Surgeon Dentist to Philip V, King of Spain, was one of the thirteen famous physicians and surgeons, and the only surgeon dentist, whose Approbations are printed in the prelims (Laudumiey’s is found on page 38 in the prelims, dated 9 June, 1728). For his review of Fauchard’s book see the English edition (1946): ” ... I have never seen a more perfect dissertation on the teeth than the book which M. Fauchard has composed ...” etc. Engraved armorial book-plate in vol. II: Mr Sanlot, Fermier Genéral.

References: Garrison-Morton 3671; Grolier, One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine 40; Norman 768; En francais dans le texte (Bibliotheque National, Paris) 142; Printing and the Mind of Man 186; Weinberger, History of Dentistry I, pp 297-312; Weinberger, Pierre Fauchard Surgeon-Dentist (1941); Notable Medical Books, p 111; Waller 10620; Bennion, Antique Dental Instruments for numerous citations; Blake p. 144; Crowley 763; Dagen Histoire de l'art dentaire en France, pp. 119-127; David p. 113; Grolier 40; Guerini pp. 259ff; Heirs of Hippocrates 785; Hoffmann-Axthelm ff. 196; Weinberger Dental Bibliography p. 48; Wellcome III p. 12; Woodforde Strange Story of False teeth, chapter 7 pp. 46-50.
Waller 10620.

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