An interesting paper on this subject was recently read before the College of Dentists in London, by T. Harding, M. D., in which he described his success in cauterizing the pulp of decayed teeth by the use of a current of electricity. He employs for this purpose a compound Smee's battery composed of six pairs of zinc and platinized silver plates in cells excited by dilute sulphuric acid. The conducting wires, which run from the opposite end plates and form the circuit, terminate in tips of fine platinum wire formed into a loop. The sides of tliis loop are brought parallel, not touching, but near together, then introduced into the cavity of the tooth to be operated upon. A handle is then touched which closes the circuit, and the electric current flows along the wire, raising the platinum tips to a white heat, which soon destroys the pulp of the tooth. The white light of the platinum points illumines the cavity, and allows the operator to perceive what he is doing. The operation is associated with little pain, and should precede tlie filling of decayed teetli, which cause pain from exposure of the pulp. This process cures severe ordinary toothache, and it may be used ?with decided advantage in almost every case of tooth disease, if carefully performed. Dr. Harding also stated that it was especially applicable to relieve neuralgia of the face dependent upon affected teeth. This form of teeth disease is very prevalent in our country, and causes the most excruciating pain. If this simple operation recommended by Dr. H. affords relief, it should at once be adopted by all our dentists. This method of cauterizing diseased teeth has been practised for six years by the author of the paper referred to, and in more than five thousand cases without the occurrence of a single accident worth naming. The President of the College, on the conclusion of reading the paper by Dr. H,, took opposite views as to the efficacy of cauterizing teeth by this process. He stated that he had tried it, without meeting with much success. He recommended a sedative for toothache m'ade of three grains of morphia, mixed with two drachms of a saturated solution of camphor, either in chloroform or alcohol. He had found this to be an excellent dressing in all cases of exposed pulp or sensitive dentine.
This article was originally published with the title "Destroying the Nerves of Teeth by Electricity"