extracting a tooth. London; c. 1360-75.Historically, dental extractions
have been used to treat a variety of illnesses. During the Middle Ages and throughout the 19th century, dentistry was not a profession in itself, and often dental procedures were performed by barbers or general physicians. Barbers usually limited their practice to extracting teeth
, which not only resulted in the alleviation of pain, but often cured a variety of ailments linked to chronic tooth infection. Instruments used for dental extractions
date back several centuries. In the 14th century, Guy de Chauliac invented the dental pelican (resembling a pelican's beak) which was used up until the late 18th century. The pelican was replaced by the dental key which, in turn, was replaced by modern forceps in the 20th century.