Before modern dental science existed in the USA, people still had problems with their teeth. Oftentimes, though, there wasn’t anything approaching an actual dentist nearby. In the early 1800’s there wasn’t even a specific dental profession, and licensing hadn’t been invented yet.
So, what did people do about their teeth? For starters, many people only sought help if they had a toothache… and extractions were really common.
Because dentists didn’t really exist yet, the job fell to those who had the appropriate tools. Blacksmiths and barbers performed the majority of dental work back then.
Of course, as time went on and the dental profession truly began, actual dentists became irritated at barbers and others who continued to practice without serious training. Thanks to their input, we now have full licensing requirements, meaning you can’t go to your village blacksmith to get your tooth pulled.
We think this was a good idea.