Tooth Worm

The Battle of the Tooth Worm

Treatment of tooth worms varied depending on the severity of the patient's pain. Often, practitioners would try to 'smoke' the worm out by heating a mixture of beeswax and henbane seed on a piece of iron and directing the fumes into the cavity with a funnel. Afterwards, the hole was filled with powered henbane seed and gum mastic. This may have provided temporary relief given the fact that henbane is a mild narcotic. Many times, though, the achy tooth had to be removed altogether. Some tooth-pullers mistook nerves for tooth worms, and extracted both the tooth and the nerve in what was certainly an extremely painful procedure in a period before anesthetics.

The piece of art is titled 'The Tooth Worm as Hell's Demon.' It was created in the 18th century by an unknown artist, and is carved from ivory. It is an incredibly intricate piece when you consider it only stands a little over 4 inches tall. The two halves open up to reveal a scene about the infernal torments of a toothache depicted as a battle with the tooth worm, complete with mini skulls, hellfire, and naked humans wielding clubs.

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14 Responses:

  1. Geoff Smith says:

    *cringe and shiver*

  2. CJ says:

    Brush your teeth, kids.

  3. Joker_vD says:

    What still puzzles me, is why there are nerves in the teeth at all. What purpose do they serve? Are they the signs of the Creator's love and intelligent desgin? Must be so!

    • adobriyan says:

      How the brain is going to know that tooth is dying without nerves?

      • Pavel Lishin says:

        Do other apes perform dental work? Do they extract teeth?

        • MetaRZA says:

          The other apes don't live as long as we do. They also eat a very different diet, one less prone to causing tooth decay.

    • Jeff Bell says:

      Nerves are necessary to detect failure conditions. Olive pits would break teeth.

      Denture wearers are particularly prone to choking on fish bones because they can't feel them.

      • Pavel Lishin says:

        I would have thought that fish bones are mostly felt by the tongue and gums...

    • Xythantiops says:

      Proof of the wisdom of Brahma!

  4. ssl-3 says:


    If I worried as much as you do about teeth, and tooth-like constructs, I'd just have them all removed and replaced with dentures.

    Nothing can infect dentures in such a way that new dentures can't resolve.

  5. NT says:

    "Now, your nerve endings are the tastiest part of your body."

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