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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 remédier à leurs maladies, à celles des gencives & aux accidens qui peuvent survenir aux autres parties voisines des dents. Avec des observations & des réflexions sur plusieurs cas singuliers ... deuxiéme edition revûë, corrigée & considérablement augmentée

Paris: chez Pierre-Jean Mariette, ruë S. Jacques aux Colonnes d'Hercule. Et chez l'auteur, ruë des grands Cordeliers, 1746
2 volumes 12mo: a12 b4 A–2R8,4 2S8 (–2S8), 263 leaves, pp. xxiv [8] 494; a6 A–2N8,4 2O4, 226 leaves, pp. [10] 425 [17].
43 engraved plates: portrait frontispiece signed 'J. Le Bel pinxit J. B. Scotin Sculp.' and plates numbered Planche 1–42me (bound in the text according to page numbers engraved on the plates).
Condition: 168 x 91mm. A few plate headlines shaved, light browning towards the end of the second volume, narrow waterstains in the upper margins of both volumes, generally a clean and fresh copy.
Binding: Contemporary mottled calf, gilt spines, marbled endleaves, red edges. Small chip to headcap of vol. I, a little rubbed but a very well preserved binding.
Provenance: Jean Bouillet (1690–1777) with his signature 'Bouillet' on title of vol. I. See below for further notes on Bouillet.
Second, enlarged edition (first 1728). The definitive edition: it was reprinted without further change in 1786 after the author's death. A German translation appeared in 1733 but there was no English edition until 1946.
Bibliography: Wellcome III, p. 12; Blake p. 144; Weinberger p. 48.

The first comprehensive work on dentistry, and one of the great books in the history of medicine. ‘Fauchard is universally regarded by dental historians as the founder of modern dentistry – indeed, no single individual has had a more profound influence on the development of dentistry’ (Grolier). Fauchard was the first to use the word ‘dentiste’ to describe his profession and his work marks the beginning of dentistry as a distinct specialty.
The second edition was revised and considerably enlarged by the author, including a description of pyorrhea alveolaris, a common affliction of the gums, and it contains two additional plates. Apart from the new plates the illustrations are printed from the original coppers, but with the page numbers altered, and there is some re-working of the portrait frontispiece.
An exceptional copy from the library of Jean Bouillet of Béziers, who gained his medical degree from the medical faculty of Montpellier in 1707 and contributed articles to the Encyclopédie. With Dortous de Mairan (1678–1771) he founded the Académie de Béziers. He presumably bought the book new.
<<_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 worthwhile textbook of dentistry.
>>Nigel Phillips in Grolier Medicine.
Literature: For a full analysis of this edition, see Vincenzo Guerini, History of Dentistry (1909), pp. 259–302. For the first edition, see Garrison–Morton 3671; Grolier Club One Hundred Books Famous in Medicine 40; Le Fanu Notable medical books p. 111; En Français dans le Texte 142; and Printing and the Mind of Man 186.
Keywords:     dentistry