De Ulceribus Dentium Fistulosis, Leipzig, 1733

Johann Friederich Brückmann


Johann Caspar Kuechler (Küchler) 
(1674-1746); Johann Friederich Brückmann.

We know relatively little about the supervising faculty, Professor Johann Caspar Kuechler (1674-1746), except that he had a reputation for being an excellent physician, and during a period of 20 or so years (1723 and 1745) his name appears on at least 7 dissertation thesis that he supervised at university of Leipzig.

The cover of the thesis indicates Margliss. Lusat. under the name of the defending student, Johann Friederich Brückmann. It stands for Marglissa, Lusatia or Lausitz at the time, today Lesno, Poland. Lausitz was a region at the border between Poland and Germany that belonged to Germany on and off during history. It was returned to Poland after WWII.

Brückman’s thesis is 32 pages long and deals with the ulceration of the dental fistula, a common complication of an infected tooth that needs an outlet to drain. The successful of the thesis defense took place on October 2, 1733.

The thesis starts with a description of the clinical picture, a differential diagnosis (differentia huius ab aliis ulceribus) from other ulcers such as aphthous ulcer, parulis, epulis, followed by a definition of the nomenclature (denominationis nostrae ratio) that Bruckmann is planning to use. Bruckmann quotes from the period literature including authors such as Johannes von Muralt (1645-1733), anatomist, natural scientist and philosopher, Eberhard Gockel (1636-1703) a German physician and member of the academy of scholars, Valasco de Taranta, a Montpellier trained Portuguese physician from the late 15th century, the 2d century Galen, and the XVII century Italian surgeon from Cortona, Francesco Peccetti. In a sign of how current Bruckmann was with the literature, he quotes Pierre Fauchard whose German translation of the Le Chirurgien Dentiste was literally translated that year, 1733. In the next 20 or so pages Bruckmann next describes the physical location of the ulcerated fistula, its causes, symptoms, treatment and prognosis. He correctly associates complications of carious lesions with fistulation. Today such a thesis would be just as appropriate for a student project, very much like in the 18th century Germany.

Digital Version

Editorial notes Andrew Speilman.