1890s Dentists: Satisfaction Guaranteed

Like the other businessmen and merchants of their time, dentists advertised their services in newspapers to gain new business.

Dentist T.J. Smithers informed his patients and the general public that he was back in his South Washington Street office in Easton in the pages of September 30, 1890 issue of The Star-Democrat.

Smithers offered a variety of services: tooth extraction, 25 cents; artificial teeth insertion, as low as $5; and filling teeth, as low as 50 cents.

Per the mention: “Teeth extracted without pain or danger of life. Satisfaction guaranteed.”

But he wasn’t the only dentist making claims of dental bliss. Dr. J.C. Hardin listed prices for a portion of his services in a small front-page advertisement as well, including full upper sets of teeth for $5, $10 and $15, and $1 gold fillings. Although his ad didn’t say his procedures were pain free, he did mention that he administered gas to his patients. Dr. Hardin also stood by his work, proclaiming “All work guaranteed first-class.”

Drug store Henry and Bro. also focused on readers’ dental hygiene with its ads for Henry’s Tooth Powder, an antiseptic and tonic, proclaiming it was “an elegant preparation for cleansing and beautifying the Teeth, and purifying the Breath.” And, in yet another ad—the business had several — Henry and Bro. claimed to have what they considered the “Best Tooth Brush made at very low prices.”

Source: The Star-Democrat, September 30, 1890

Fun Fact: Maryland houses the National Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore and is home to the world’s first dental school.

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