BOURDET, Etienne


BOURDET, Etienne. Soins faciles pour la propreté de la Bouche, pour la conservation des Dents

Paris, Chez Jean-Th. Hérissant, 1771.


16mo, 248 pp., 2 ff.. Roman letter, some Italic. Head pieces. Bound in mottled calf over boards, marbled pastedowns, single fillet frame blind-tooled along edges, gilt spine with title on red morocco label, a.e.r.. A little rubbed to spine ends, corners and cover extremities. A lovely copy.

Second enlarged edition of this work on dentistry by Etienne Bourdet (the first edition, published in 1759, had only 136 pages). A pupil of Pierre Fauchard, Bourdet was one of the most renowned dentist of his time. He soon entered in the service of Louis XV as personal dental surgeon. The king later elevated him to noble ranks for his professional merit. The author discusses the importance of the teeth both as embellishments to physical appearance and as cutting tools essential to life. He also stresses the need for oral hygiene in order to prevent infection of the bloodstream by the swallowing of impure saliva. The work is divided into sections on keeping the mouth healthy, on preventing damage to the teeth, and on repairing damage caused by neglect or accident. For toothache Bourdet prescribes luxation, through which the dental nerve was disrupted at the root. There are also observations on false teeth, and advice to parents and to others bringing up children. Part of the material is drawn from Bourdet’s “Recherches sur toutes les parties de l’Art du Dentiste” published in Paris in 1757.

“According to Bourdet, the teeth are so apt to decay, partly because of the frequent changes of temperature to which they are exposed, and partly because, differently from the bones, they are not provided with any protective organic covering. In many caries, Bourdet extracted the tooth, filled it with lead or gold leaf, and replanted it; but if, in extracting, the alveolus had been injured…he replanted the tooth immediately, to preserve the alveolus from the damaging action of the air, and carried out the stopping at a later time…Bourdet made prosthetic pieces… [but] one of his principal merits is that of having brought artificial plates to perfection by fixing them not, as heretofore, to the opening of the palate or inside the nose, but by means of lateral clasps fitted to the teeth… Bourdet wrote an excellent book on dental hygiene” (Guerini)

David p.39, Poletti p.31, Weinberger p.316, Guerini p. 309: “A celebrated dentist and elegant writer, in whom the gifts of literary and scientific culture were coupled with a vast experience and a profound spirit of observaton.” Blake p.61, Wellcome II p. 213; Quaritch, Cat. 1197, 10.