Vollständige Anweisung zum Zahnausziehen, für angehende Wundärzte - 1782
Johann Jacob Heinrich Buecking
Johann Jacob Heinrich Buecking is German author. Very little is known about him except that he practiced in Wolfenbüttel, Lower Saxony, about 120 miles south of Hamburg, and that he published three works in three very different subject areas: on tooth extraction (1782), on knee fractures and stabilization with copper plates (1789), and on the temperament of Jesus Christ (1783).
The copy in our collection, Vollständige Anweisung zum Zahnausziehen, für angehende Wundärzte, was published in 1782. It translates to Complete Instructions on Tooth Extraction, for Prospective Surgeons. It has 168 pages and three illustrations at the end of the book. To put things in perspective, by 1782 both French and English authors have already published extensive works on tooth extraction including three editions of Pierre Fauchard’s - Le Chirurgien Dentist, and John Hunter’s – The Natural History of the Teeth. In that context, Buecking does not contribute much original knowledge.
The first section, Vorbericht is a preliminary report, outlining Buecking’s aim to write a complete and easy-to-understand book for the budding surgeon.
The next section, Einleitung, is an introduction to tooth nomenclature, tooth anatomy and eruption sequence. The first full chapter, Erster Abschnitt Beschreibung Eintheilung und Benennung der Zähne, provides a detailed dental anatomy.
Next, Zweeter Abschnitt Krankheiten der Zähne die das Ausziehen nothwendig machen, describes conditions which may require dental extraction. The goal of the treatment is to create an occlusion that is functional during both, mastication and phonation, and provide a pleasing esthetic outcome. This section instructs the removal of primary teeth when they obstruct the eruption of permanent ones. He also suggests the use of opium and mercury for treatment of periodontitis due to caries and scurvy.
The third chapter is Dritter Abschnitt Beschreibung der zum Zahnauszieben nöthigen und gebräuchlichen Instrumente describes the tools required for tooth extraction, including forceps, the pelikan (pelican), Geißfuße (goat’s foot), and Englischen Schlüssel (the English key).
The next two chapters, Vierter Abschnitt Von dem Gebrauche der Instrumente Erste Abtheilung Von dem Gebrauche der Zahnzange, and Fünfter Abschnitt Von der Operation des Zahnausnehmens selbst, respectively, describe on the use of the instruments listed in the previous chapter, as well as a step-by-step process of tooth extraction. There are detailed explanations of the proper positioning of the patient and surgeon, and how to decide which instruments to use for extraction. This chapter also deals with post-extractional complications including heavy bleeding, pain, bone fragmentation, and inflammation.
The final section, Nachtrag, is an addendum which deals with tooth transplantation, a popular procedure at the time. At the time the book was published, tooth extraction was the primary treatment for most dental disease. Therefore, a book for a beginner dental surgeon would have been an invaluable guide. It is also interesting to see discussion of ethics in dentistry such as one’s conduct with patients. Such considerations make this book feel more modern despite much of its outdated information.
(Based on research Andrew Vorrath class of 2024 as part of his assignment in the Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry Course Fall 2020). Edited by Andrew I Spielman.