Tratado de las Operaciones que Deben Practicarse en la Dentadura – A Study of the Operations Involved in Practicing Dentistry (1799).

Tratado de las Operaciones que Deben Practicarse en la Dentadura


Pérez Arroyo Félix (1755-1809)

Felix, Perez Arroyo, born in Alovera, Spain in 1755, was trained as a hernista, attending hernias, ruptures, and emergencies in the city of Madrid. Subsequently Felix decided to pursue a carrier in dentistry, one of the few practitioners in XVIII century Spain to specialize in the care of teeth. At age 44, Felix published a text focused on the maintenance and treatment of teeth through surgical procedures.

In his introduction, Felix acknowledges the influence of Fauchard, Martinez Castillo, and Pierre Abadie in writing his book. The work is 250 pages and includes 4 set of illustrations of some of the instruments used in dentistry. The text starts with of what is practiced in dentistry. Next chapter is dedicated to dealing with lockjaw. Other chapters detail the bases of oral care, dealing with caries, followed by chapters dedicated to esthetics, tooth whitening and restorations. He discourages the use of abrasive porcelain powder and pomace stone to prevent damage on the enamel and gums. Instead advocates the use of salts, powders, and diluted lime juice. The restorative treatments range from simple decay removal, to cauterization of large cavities so they can then be filled with cotton and lead. He instructs on how to properly place lead restorations and what instruments to use.
The eights chapter describes extractions and possible post-operative treatments, such as the use of artificial teeth, modeled out of horse teeth preferably, or even the crown human teeth that would be anchored to adjacent teeth for support.
Chapter ten presents the option of obturators prosthesis. Additionally, on his final chapter, the author touches on the latest innovation of transplanting healthy teeth onto a patient, detailing the proper attachment needed and the safety considerations that practitioners should be aware of.

Concluding his book with several pages of illustrations and specific instructions on how to use each instrument. From reading the simple language, the way Arroyo presented different points of view from popular authors, and the emphasis on convenient structure of disease-treatment sequence, it is evident that Perez Arroyo intended to create a text dedicated to the upcoming dentist, providing them with a helpful guide to some of the most common treatments of the mouth.

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 based in part on J. Sanz Serrulla, “The surgeon and dentist Félix Pérez Arroyo (1755-1809). His life and his work ”, in Wad-al-Hayara , No. 20 (1993), p. 253-264. Edited by Andrew I Spielman

Digital Version