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u Dwelt on the affinities that hind—
The loosing of honds hy difference,
And the resolving hack of matter
To its elements."

Instead of disturbing the microbe in bis little pool, why did he not attack tinctura ferri chloridi, the most ruthless tiger of the laboratory lair? That it is a chemical creation is no reason for withholding his band or muffling his voice. It is a public danger, and should be suppressed! When the burglar, with stealthy tread, under cover of the night, has entered your peaceful home and feloniously abstracted your money or your goods, you have suffered a loss; but it is not irreparable, for you still survive to enjoy life and its blessings. There is an inimical force that comes to our homes at all times. It has as ready admittance as ourselves. The most trusted friend of the family recommends and prescribes it, and his hands present it to our confidence and use. This force is a chemical one, called "tincture of iron" and by the affinity of its acids for the lime in our teeth is a most certain destroyer of their substance. Under the promise of strength it belies our hopes, and by its power to demolish works irretrievable ruin to the very pillars of life! If the tyro has discovered so much that calls for relief, why is the master in science voiceless and dumb? My brethren, I think you know the verities of what I speak. If you do not know, be more observant in the time to come, and when you shall see the dentures you have cultured and guarded and prized as the acme of your skill crumbling beneath some sudden and furtive blow, rise to the greatness of your position and combat, with all your might, so insidious and formidable a foe!

Dr. J. W. Thomson. Allow me to indorse the doubt as to whether fermentation and putrefaction are practically identical, as seems to be held by Prof. Mayr. I believe that, in the process of fermentation, when alcohol is produced fermentation ceases. Now, any putrefying substance immersed in alcohol will have its further putrescence arrested, and its animalcular life will cease developing. How can fermentation produce bacteria termo, when alcohol destroys or arrests the further development of all life that may be immersed therein? The theory of Dr. Koch and others, that disease is produced by germs, and in the case of cholera that you have nothing to do but destroy the bacteria, is, in my opinion, both false and misleading. I have yet to hear of a single case that has either been aborted or cured by a knowledge of that theory. We know that germs and low forms of life follow disease in highly-organized beings. In health, the organism throws off or resists the myriad forms of life that attack it in air, food, or other surroundings. It is only when disease or death attacks the organism that the higher becomes the prey of the lower.

Br. W. H. Dwinelle. I do not propose to give up the acid theory quite so freely. I think we have too many precedents in our history for us to yield to any new theory that has been suggested here to-night, although I am ever ready to embrace new truths, or rather such as supplement old ones. We are not warranted in ignoring the large experience which lies in the past history of our profession. The theory of bacteria, or of insects incident to fermentation, is all very well in its way, but it does not supplant the acid theory, which I believe in still. During a long period of practice I have observed that some patients lose more of their teeth in a single period of gestation than they have lost during the whole of their lives previous to that period, and I know beyond all controversy that they have lost them through the agency of the acridity of the secretions of the mouth and general system,—a system which has been vitiated, and necessarily so, for it seems to be in the order of nature that during the months of gestation the majority of women have acid secretions of the stomach, of the mouth, and an acid condition of the system generally. So we are warranted in believing that acids do play a very important chemical part in the decomposition of the teeth. Going back to our first principles of chemistry, we recognize that acids of the mouth do lay hold on the lime-salts, which are the basis of the teeth; carbonic acid gas is evolved, and the teeth are as legitimately decomposed by that acid as they would be if they were taken out of the mouth and put into a solution of any other chemical acid. We know this to be a fact, and we cannot ignore it. We are ready to accept new truths and new theories when they correspond with already established facts, but not otherwise. Acids will be acids still, alkalies be alkalies, and chemistry will bo chemistry, the same as before. The fundamental law of nature, established from the begining, will reign supreme to the end. The new may be an advanced truth,—it may supplement, but it can never substitute it, for it can harmonize only with itself. We know that we are made up of chemical elements, we are microcosms, chemical and otherwise, of everything in nature; and so when we treat ourselves chemically we must consider the affinity of the chemical elements for each other. It is proper to use reagents, neutralizers, and resolvents; it is proper for us to use an alkali to balance or neutralize an acid. We know that our bones are chemical in their composition, and that we can produce chemical changes in the human system almost as readily as we can in the laboratory. I believe Dr. Clowes was entirely right in his proposition here to-night. It was objected to his theory of the cause of decay, that if it were true the action of the acid would always be exerted first upon the lower teeth and its effects found there first; but my friend did not take into account the effect of capillary attraction, which equalizes the distribution of the fluids throughout the entire animal economy, by which acids will creep along the tissues to the superior maxillary and into the natural cavities, so to speak, between the teeth, where our trouble often begins. We are essentially chemical in our composition, and we can saturate our systems with certain chemical elements with almost mathematical exactness. The iodide of potassium is, in a large ma jority of cases, just as marked in its general effects upon the teeth as possible,—just as marked as the change produced when an acid and an alkali come in contact. When the system is saturated with iodide of potassium it often has the effect of grooving the teeth at the cervical borders just as legitimately as though they were grooved with a file. It is difficult for us to tell how nature grooves teeth by absorption, and produces this specific effect; we can only explain the matter in the indirect and inferential way in which it is done, by showing that it can be produced artificially and chemically.

It is well for us to correct, re-examine, and criticise our theories, but we must not throw them up until we are sure they are wrong. We have not learned all there is to be known; neither do the newcomers who step upon our platforms know it all. They are apt to be theoretical, and we should be practical, for we know what we know, and no amount of theory can militate against or annihilate the facts we have by long years of experience and observation established. So we must receive new doctrines that do not harmonize with these established facts with great caution.

Dr. Bogue. I agree with our friend, Dr. Dwinelle, heartily in this matter of the effect of gestation upon women's teeth. There is something else that has very much to do with the damage that is done to the teeth, and I feel like bringing up a case of that kind that I have had within twenty-four hours. A young man, about thirty-five years of age, has not taken the pains to apply the remedy that Prof. Mayr (I am glad to see) advocates,—that of thorough cleanliness between the teeth; but he gave that queerest kind of application of the brush that I have heard called "a lick and a promise" to his teeth, and a most noticeable result was reached,— namely, that wherever the stroke of the brush went there was absolutely no decay throughout the mouth; but in all the intertices, in the sulci of the teeth, and in the approximal surfaces and the semi-lunar curves formed by the gum,—in all those places that the brush does not hit,—there is such a decay existing as Prof. Mayr unfortunately said he did not believe took place, namely > Vol. xxvii.—15.

a circular decay, or semi-lunar shaped, at the margin of the gums. The main reason for my saying anything on that point is to call the attention of Prof. Mayr, by and by, to the fact that he has not drawn so much from practical sources as Dr. Dwinelle and others have. He has theorized too much as to the locality of decay in human teeth. And just here I regret that he is not present to answer as to whether he considers that, in dental decay, the acid has its first action upon the teeth, or the micro-organisms come first. I understood him to say that the "bugs are always first;" but I can hardly credit my ears, for it seems to me, from what I have read thus far, that we must have the action of an acid first, and then the micro-organisms appear as scavengers.

Dr. Kingsley. He puts it the other way.

Dr. Bogue. I hope to get an answer to that question from him.

President Jarvie. My question was, Are micro-organisms the result or the cause of putrefaction? He said they were the cause of putrefaction; that they were present previous to putrefaction.

Dr. Bogue. As these micro-organ]sms are present at all times, in health as well as in disease, I grant it; but I believe they will do no harm to the tooth until the enamel shall have been penetrated by chemical action, which chemical action is probably fermentative.


E. T. Payne, D.D.S., Secretary.


Regular monthly meeting, held Tuesday evening, February 3, 1885, in the rooms of The S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Company, corner of Broadway and Thirty-second street.

The president, Dr. A. L. Northrop, in the chair.

Dr. C. F. W. Bodecker, chairman of the Clinic Committee, reported as follows: An interesting clinic was held to-day. The number in attendance was about forty. Dr. Kingsley exhibited a case of congenital cleft-palate restored by an obturator. Dr. Reese, of Brooklyn, exhibited some teeth in which he had inserted some of his metal with cement, the intention being to give more strength and anchorage to the filling. This method of inserting the Reese metal into the pulp-chamber with cement is claimed by Dr. Reese to be an advantage. Dr. Gerster presented a patient with a gun-shot wound. The gentleman, in attempting suicide, fired a 32-calibre bullet into his mouth. It passed through his tongue, perforated the soft palate, and lodged near the spinal column. Dr. Gerster saw the patient on the 9th of October, at the hospital where the operation of ligating the common carotid artery was performed. The principal object in presenting the patient was to show that such wounds in the mouth can heal by first intention, as this did. The perforation of the palate-was hardly perceptible. The tongue was, of course, somewhat disfigured irom the laceration of the bullet, which is yet situated near the spinal column. Dr. Cook, of Litchfield, Conn., presented some models of quite a young patient, who seemed to have worn away the front teeth to such an extent that, they were so sensitive that she could not eat. It was the opinion of some of the gentlemen present that the G-alvano cautery should be applied and the sensitiveness of the teeth thereby relieved. Dr. Starr, of The S. S. White Dental Manufacturing Company, exhibited some new forms of teeth. These teeth differ from the old molds in that the pin is inserted in the lower surface of the tooth instead of the posterior surface, in a space hollowed out of the tooth. It is claimed that these teeth will be very much stronger than the old form, and they are also of better shape. For use in this connection, the company has manufactured a special kind of rubber, which is pink on one side and red on the other.

Dr. Kingsley. One month ago to-day I saw a patient at the clinic who had an apparatus for restoring cleft-palate that had been in use only a very short time; when it was taken out of the mouth the patient spoke very imperfectly, but when the apparatus was applied she spoke exceedingly well. It was a marvel to me at the time, until I discovered what had not been announced up to that moment, that the case before us was not a case of congenital cleftpalate, but a case of acquired lesion, where an apparatus of the most simple character will produce instantaneous restoration of speech. I then called the attention of the gentlemen present to the fact that in cases of acquired lesion the difference in the speech of the patient there shown would be produced every time immediately on the application of a proper obturator; but that among cases of congenital cleft-palate I had never known an instance of restoration of speech immediately following the insertion of the apparatus. Under these circumstances I made considerable effort to present a patient at the clinic to-day, and if, when the obturator had been in place but half an hour, the patient spoke little or no better than before, it was showing practically what I had been trying to teach here a month before, that immediate improvement in speech in such cases of congenital cleft-palate could not be accomplished with any apparatus, and that the difference between an acquired lesion and congenital cleft-palate was as wide as the antipodes. It may be months before a patient like the one I had at the clinic to-day will be very much benefited in his speech, while one with an acquired lesion would be instantly and greatly benefited.

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