The Dental Room.

By Cpl. Tom Roberts.

One of the most important departments, a department, too, in which the self sacrificing labours of its specialists deserve more acknowledgment than they have hitherto received - is described below. In order that this article may be of the utmost practical value, we append a list of the times at which the Dental Surgeons are in attendance: Sunday, 9.30 a.m., Mr. Hern, M.R.C.S., L.D.S.; Mr. West L,D.S.; Mr. Daw, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., L.D.S., Mr. Goysh, L,D.S, Wednesday, 10 a.m., Mr. Hern (for special cases); at 2.30, Messrs. Daw and West., Thursday, 2.30, Mr. West (by appointment). Friday, 11 arm., Mr. Marston, R.D.S., M.B.D.A.

If no convoy of wounded is coming in, and you pass through the big Receiving Hall, by the rows of gray-blanketed beds waiting for their burdens, and then to the right-hand corner, to a door in the wainscot - the left one, please - and then walk on two or three steps you may see on the left hand a little wooden stairway putting its feet on to the passage.

It is better to wait and listen here; there may be a patient or someone with a pail coming down, and the way is dark and difficult and narrow; and waiting, you may wonder if all back staircases in Franco-Scottish halls (in which style this building is said to be) wore really like this, or whether 'tis another example of the days of sham Gothic architecture, of dimly lit stone stairways, with cold iron railings, for little girls on chill dark November days: the days of the invention of the word utilitarian, perambulator. But the person has come down with some clatter, and you pass up to the landing, where patients, men in blue, sit and lie on the floor in the little space, awaiting their turns. (They are having a comfortable waiting-room now. ) And at last we have arrived.

It is Sunday morning -- a busy day. Sunlight comes through the iron sashed window, lighting up the dental surgeons and a lean elderly corporal, their henchman

"No.5." last of the simple extractions, is called: he had jibbed last week. "I can stand it all right today, sir " The gums are chilled, and three teeth are out in eight seconds. Never a murmur. He gets a pat on the back, and passing out whispers " I'm only ten days out of the trench, Corp. "

Next are cases for gas. The anaesthetist arrives just in time: the first man is in the chair, the gag between his teeth, hands clasped, neckcloth loosened, a rubber apron over the chest. He takes it quietly. "Hope I didn't swear, sir."

The next is for four big stumps, and, taking the gas, is a kicker. The corporal sits on his knees. The forty-five seconds are up and the work done. The patient comes round with a wild look, shouting, "Who are you? What are you ? Who the hell are you," The eyes calm quickly, and he adds quietly, "I thought I was in heaven."

No. 8 roars like a bull and thought he was at the concert.

No. 9 had cleared; the roaring was a bit too much.

An hour finished this part. then comes the most interesting work of the dental surgeons: the building up of fractured jaws, work asking for the nicest skill and knowledge of possibilities.

The consulting D.S. will show you in a. moment the great difference between civilian and war practice. The simple fractures bound and held together at once with the Hammond wire splints, will probably join and heal.

In No. 14, the front part of the lower jaw, shot right through, left the two sides working independently. A splint now holds the whole jaw firmly together; the chin is built up and looks almost normal.


In No. 20. A large part of the lower jaw was shot away. The surgeons have made up the external wound which was the size of a hen egg. The remains of the jaw fell away to the man's right the D.S.'s coaxed and brought it into position, and have built up and preserved the bite, spite of the loss of bone.


A case now being treated had the whole upper jaw and left eye carried away, leaving only one thing human looking, on a strange front to a man's head, an eye -- an eye that, through the pain, the operations stayed bright. Now a palate has been introduced, a nose made up, the cheek built by plastic operation by the surgeon in charge and there will be a presentable face. The clear eye the very expression of patience and cheeriness-- twinkles, as the D.S. says he will be made a good-looking chap yet, and a queer voice comes out.: "It'll be all right. I never was a Don Juan."