Dental burnisher with agate head, France, 1780-1820

1780-1820 in France
Dental burnisher with agate head, France, 1780-1820 (dental burnisher)

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Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Dental burnisher, silver and gold with agate head, reputedly made for Dr. Lyons, dentist to the Swedish royal family, c.1785, probably French, 1780-1820

Dental burnishers were used to polish and smooth out any sharp edges during work to restore teeth. This ornate example is made from silver and gold and has moulded decoration on the ends and middle of the stem. The mineral heads are different shapes and are made of bloodstone and agate.

These dental burnishers were reputedly made for a Dr Lyons, who may have been the dentist to the Swedish Royal Family, though no record confirming this has been traced. However, the expensive materials that the burnisher is made from reflect wealthy and important patients who would expect quality instruments. The burnisher may have been made in France. It is shown here with other dental burnishers.


Sir Henry Wellcome's Museum Collection
Object Number:
silver, gold and agate
overall: 10 mm x 130 mm x 15 mm, 0.014 kg
depth: 20mm
diameter: 11mm
weight: 0.01kg
weight: 0.02205lbs
width: 130mm
dental burnisher