By Word of Mouth

Building Trust in Early Dentistry

During the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, dentistry in Australia was developing at a rapid pace. In NSW, the Dentistry Act was legislated in January 1901, which established dentistry as a profession. New regulations offered a structure to assess the legitimacy of practising dentists and stop those who were unqualified from operating questionable practices.

One of those dentists who were acknowledged as legitimate and skilled was the owner of this metal dental syringe. Edward Percy Amesbury (1843-1912).

Edward was born in England and left for Victoria, Australia in 1871, where he later married Emily Knapp. Over the next twenty years, they had four children and moved around New Zealand, Victoria, and New South Wales, while Edward worked as a dentist. One of his dental practices was in Glen Innes, NSW on Ngoorabul country.

Edward provided quality care to his patients and kept up to date with the latest improvements in his field. He specialised in artificial teeth, including dentures made of vulcanite, gold, and corallite, and performed painless extractions with the use of anaesthetics, usually laughing gas, ether, or chloroform.

All of Edward’s children followed in his footsteps and became dentists themselves, including Loo Loo Ruth Gore (née Amesbury) who became one of only six female dentists in NSW in 1905. Having created a legacy for himself, Edward did his part to earn dentistry a reputation of respect and trust in Australia.