Dental instrument set, German military issue, in canvas roll, contents by J. Schmehl and Jetter and Scheerer, Germany, c. 1912-1918
Held within a canvas roll military issue dental set are vicious looking steel dental devices for pulling teeth, scraping plaque and extracting roots. The set was made during the First World War by German instrument makers Jetter and Scheerer. Each instrument bears their hallmark of a snake winding around a bone, below a crown. Dental problems were an issue among troops from all sides during the war. Even basic dental care was not practised by many recruits. Military dentists were swamped with cases requiring treatment.
Tooth pulling had often been carried out by a range of people. These included barber-surgeons, travelling practitioners and blacksmiths. However, dentistry became a regulated and licensed profession in the late 1800s.