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Roadside Attractions: Dental Museums! | Overland Park Family Dentist

Planning a family road trip this summer or during spring break? Looking for something a little different that can also help you and your family learn about oral hygiene and dental health? Your Overland Park dentist recommends a stop by one of the nation’s (perhaps surprisingly) numerous dental museums!

Dental museums located in states from Maryland to Texas showcase the past, present, and future of dental health, with displays that range from a bucket of teeth to Victorian-era dental tools to the latest state-of-the-art dental care technologies. While a trip to a dental museum may sound, to some people, about as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist, you’d be surprised at some of the fun, fantastic, and fascinating stuff on display. Here are just a few of the dental museums in the U.S.:

  • At the Samuel D. Harris Museum of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland (located on the campus of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry), you can take a look at George Washington’s dentures or get a reminder of how good we have it today with a look through history in the “Development of Drills” exhibit!
  • The Bainbridge Dental Museum & Historical Society in Ohio has been called “The Cradle of Dentistry.” Dr. John Harris began teaching dental classes here in 1827, and years later his students would go on to found the first two dental colleges in the United States.
  • At the Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you can visit the small but charming Historical Dental Museum, which features among its displays a necklace of teeth worth by the famous “P.T. Barnum of dentistry,” Edgar Randolph Rudolph Parker, better known as “Painless Parker,” a dentist in the 1890s who turned his practice into a sort of traveling circus.
  • Interested in how people got their teeth cleaned, pulled, and otherwise treated during the Victorian era? You can find out at the Texas Dental Historical Museum in Lake Jackson, Texas!

If any of those are too much of a drive for you, there’s even an online Virtual Dental Museum that will let you and your family explore dental history from the comfort of your own home, with everything from a “History of the Toothbrush” to the “Evolution of the Dental Chair.”

Not quite ready for a dental museum on this particular family outing? That’s okay, you can still add some dental education to your road trip by checking out a natural history museum like the Field Museum in Chicago or the Wyoming Dinosaur Center to get a look at some serious teeth… on dinosaurs! It’s pretty impressive that the dinosaurs managed to keep so many of their teeth, given that they probably never brushed or flossed. Take it from your Overland Park dentist, you’ll want to do a better job on oral hygiene than they did…

If your trip to the dental museum inspires you to learn more about dental health or just reminds you that you need to schedule an appointment, call your Overland Park dentist at (913) 338-3384 today!

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