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When striking white beats striking gold

Written by
7th May 2014

  I recently came across dental pioneer William Dall, the foremost exponent of ground porcelain inlays of his day, thanks to the BDA Museum. The picture above shows some samples from his laboratory. Even in the late nineteenth century, there was a demand for white fillings. Dall allegedly said….”People are becoming more artistic” and “we are more and more asked to keep the gold out of sight.”
Inspired by the demand of his patients, Dall developed techniques which would progress the profession’s understanding of porcelain inlay work.
According to Henry Noble, Senior Research Fellow in the History of Dentistry, Dall’s success was due to meticulous attention to detail and a willingness to address meetings and provide demonstrations throughout this country and abroad.
It’s interesting to note that while he sat the examination at the Royal Faculty of Physicians and surgeons, Glasgow and gained the Licence in Dental Surgery, there is no evidence of him being a student at a dental school. Nonetheless, in his will he made generous bequests to three Scottish dental schools. No doubt he wanted to incentivise students to excel in research as well as laboratory and porcelain techniques, planning to ensure that his work would be continued after his death. And so it has and the demands of patients continue to drive dentists to be “artistic.”


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