Dental Pelican

Medical Museum: Dental Pelican

September 27, 2015
by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor
Each month, we visit Dr. Blaufox’s Museum of Historical Medical Artifacts to take a look back at the medical equipment that cleared the way for what patients encounter in doctors’ offices and operating rooms of today. Some equipment may be recognizable, while other featured inventions have since become obsolete or have had their usefulness discredited.

The picture and description appear courtesy of Dr. M. Donald Blaufox, M.D., Ph.D, from his Web site:

Category: Dental pre-19th Century Instruments
Estimated Date: 1750
Name: Pelican
Description: This instrument is 5” long with a 1.5” wooden knob-shaped handle. The body of the instrument, which is steel, ends with an arc, which is subtended by a hook-shaped arm. The distance between the arm and the arc is adjusted by a screw mechanism activated by turning the handle. The entire device could be placed over the tooth and then the arm tightened to hold it firm. The arm is notched and there are ridges on the arc to enhance the grip. This ancient “plier” probably broke more teeth and jaw bones than it fixed. The pelican was invented by Guy de Chauliac.