Louis Laforgue ( ?? -1816)
L'art du dentist, 1802
Louis Laforgue was a skillful dentist certified by the Paris College of Surgery and was known as the citizens dentist of the department of the Seine. There isn’t much information on Laforque’s early childhood and upbringing however he was admitted as an expert dentist to the College Royal de Chirurgie de Saint-Come in 1785 and he resided at Rue des Fosses-Saint-Germain-des-Pres, Paris.
Louie Laforgue is the author of several works, of which “L’art du Dentiste” published in 1802, is his second and best-known on the theory and practice of the art of dentistry. The treatise has four major parts extending to 440 pages: Oral Semiology/Gum Disease, Instrumentation and Extractions, Artificial Teeth, and Obturators and Artificial Palates. Within each part, Laforgue describes his experience, he proper tools and instrumentation, techniques for straightening teeth, transplantation of teeth, inconveniences that result from decayed teeth after the pain has ceased, diseases caused by the output of wisdom teeth. The volume also displays a series of illustrations of his instruments, various artificial appliances he created for his patients.
Laforgue regularly published advertisements where he would share his opinions and related findings. He was not considered an original thinker but he was very innovative and creative, and this allowed him to have a completely different view point on the practice of dentistry. Many of his findings to this day remain important and are seen quoted in various dental journals. The contents of this advertisement showed Laforgue willingness to pass on his expertise and see the continual growth in the field of dentistry. He frequently spoke about the importance of oral hygiene in his many advertisements. He discussed that nothing but neglect is the cause of tartar formation and that tartar is the source of most of the diseases of the mouth.
Based on research done by Joshua Koshki, class of 2025 as part of her assignment in Elective in History of Medicine and Dentistry, 2021-2022. Edited by Andrew I Spielman.