September 30 – First Tooth Extraction with Anesthesia

Posted on September 30, 2013

The first use of ether as anesthesia was such a big
deal that a painting was made commemorating
the event...
One really bad thing about living in the past was the terrible medical care. Not only did people not understand as much as we do now about the causes and cures of illnesses, and about the importance of washing hands and of sanitation, they didn't even have anesthesia to use during operations and dental procedures.

So people had to endure agony!

Or they kept putting off needed procedures because they feared the pain...and of course that often led to more pain, and sometimes death.

Many doctors and dentists used alcohol or marijuana or even hashish to kill some of the pain—or to make their patients care less about the pain, at least. But other medical practitioners and chemists began to experiment with chemicals that might do a better job than whiskey. One experimenter invented “sweet vitriol,” and another invented “laughing gas.” At first these experiments were done on animals, not humans. By the end of the 1700s, people began to experiment on themselves with these substances.
This was William
Morton's first inhaler.

Finally, on this date in 1846, an American dentist named William Morton pulled a patient's tooth using ether as anesthesia—and the tooth extraction was completely painless! Morton went further and arranged a public demonstration of ether on a patient undergoing surgery. That operation was a huge success, and word spread about this pain-free medical option!

What is pain? Find out here.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the commissioning of the world's first nuclear submarine

Plan Ahead!

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