History of Medicine
The Dentist by Jose Perez
(Oil on Canvas, 24 in x 30 in, 61.5 cm x 77 cm)
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Remember the old childhood joke? "How does a dentist examine an alligator's teeth? Very carefully!" Well, the dentist in this painting obviously doesn't remember it. In fact, he is performing his examination on the patient's turf rather than on his own. This might be much nicer for all patients than lying in the dentist's chair with eyes tightly closed to shut out memories of past ordeals.
The wart hog with the spittoon, the fat fellow prying open the jaws, and the doctor with his head buried in the patient's mouth, fit well with the distortions of reality induced by whiffs of nitrous oxide. Of course, no one really laughs in the dental chair, and here even the monkey seems serious, while the doctor's nurse stoically records the locations of the newly discovered cavities.