Enduring symbols of dentistry: international metaphors of dental science

Pearn, J.
December 2008
British Dental Journal;12/13/2008, Vol. 205 Issue 11, p615
Academic Journal
Dentists' contributions to science and society extend beyond the practice of clinical dentistry and preventive oral health. Such service encompasses contributions to biology specifically and more generally to societal good works for which dentists are particularly esteemed. The profession of dentistry promotes the history and heritage of its craft and those who practise it. Enduring symbols of dentistry take many forms. These include metonymic emblems such as those of Cadmus and Saint Apollonia and the portrayal of effigies of twentieth century dentists on eponymous medals. Other enduring symbols are to be found in the names of streets and towns (eg Normanville in Australia) which commemorate dentists; and in the worldwide scientific names of plants and animal species which perpetuate singular contributions of dentists to biological science. Such include the scientific names of grasses (Deyeuxia rodwayi) after the Tasmanian dentist, Dr Leonard Rodway (1853-1936); seaweeds (Jeannerettia sp.) after a seaweed of the Pacific and Southern Oceans, after Dr Henry Jeannerett (1802-1886); gastropods (Typhina yatesi) after Dr Lorenzo Yates (1837-1909); copepods (eg Mimocalanus heronae) named to commemorate the life and works of Gayle Ann Heron (b.1923), a dental hygienist of the University of Washington, USA; and crabs (eg Cancer bellianus) named to commemorate the life and works of the leading British dentist of his day, Thomas Bell (1792-1880). This paper explores this theme of the creation and promotion of enduring symbols of dental science — enshrined in the civic, numismatic and taxonomic record.


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