Tratado de las Enfermedades de la Boca - Treatment of the disease of the mouth (1795)

Tratado de las Enfermedades de la Boca


Francisco Antonio Peláez


Francisco Antonio Peláez was born in the village of Benia, Asturias in Spain on 1736. Very little is known about his education and training. In his 1795 book, entitled Tratado de las Enfermedades de la Boca (Treatment of the disease of the mouth), however, Peláez introduces himself as Surgeon and Dentist of the Royal Hospital. Francisco Peláez describes his own work with humility, recognizing how much he learned from the masters of the trade that came before him and forged the path of dentistry. His work was influenced by his 30 years of practice but also by French dentists such as Fauchard, Bunon, Mouton, and Bourdet.

Peláez correctly identifies a problem for Spanish dentists and public: most literature was either in French or Latin, limiting access of information for Spanish-born youth. In the introduction of his work, Peláez writes about limited information about teeth, “in our language, we have very little to nothing.”

Tratado de las Enfermedades de la Boca presents a book with which Spaniard dentists could study and learn the art of dentistry in their own language. Pelaez takes significant information from Pierre Fauchard’s book, the most comprehensive book on dentistry at the time. This text, along with his thirty years of experience in the field allowed him to produce a meticulously 235-page book.

Peláez work focused on anatomy of the teeth and oral cavity, physiology, and most common diseases of the mouth. A chapter focuses on prevention of the most common disease of the mouth, and how to maintain the whiteness of the enamel. His final chapters dive into the role of the sockets and gums, and its important in health and disease. This book makes Palaez an important author in the history of dentistry in Spain.

Based in part on research done by Carmen Espinal Muller Karger class of 2022 as part of their assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2018-2019. This biography is in part based on J. Sanz, “Francisco Antonio Peláez (1736-1805). His life and his work ”, in Odontoestomatología & Implantoprótesis , 6 (1993), p. 321-325; Edited by Andrew I Spielman

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