A century of military dentistry explored at the Canadian War Museum

May 12, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario, May 12, 2015 — From foot-powered dental drills to state-of-the-art transportable clinics, Canada’s dental teams in uniform have supported Canada’s front line soldiers, sailors and aviators in wars and natural disasters for a hundred years. The Canadian War Museum marks the centenary of the Royal Canadian Dental Corps with its new special exhibition Oral History – A Century of Canadian Military Dentistry.

Over the past century, military dentists have taken on an essential and expanding role, from treating soldiers for “trench mouth,” to performing reconstructive surgery on facial wounds, to providing humanitarian assistance in crisis zones, to helping identify victims of wars and natural disasters.

“Canadian military dentistry formed an important part of the military health services offered to Canadians during the First World War,” said Mark O’Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer of the CanadianMuseum of History and the WarMuseum. “This exhibition traces the evolution of the fascinating, often unrecognized, work of military dental teams from the clinic to forensics and humanitarian assistance missions around the world. In view of their operational, humanitarian and forensic work, we are pleased to present this exhibition in partnership with the Royal Canadian Dental Corps.”

Visitors to the exhibition can peer inside a reconstructed First World War forward-area dental clinic that contains vintage chairs, tools and manually powered drills. They’ll also see its modern counterpart: an “Air-Transportable Dental System” of the type used in Afghanistan and other recent overseas missions. Archival and modern photographs will show the faces of people who’ve been helped by Canada’s military dental teams, including Lieutenant D.M. Gordon — shot in the jaw by a sniper’s bullet in Sicily in 1943 — and survivors of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, who were treated at a Canadian field hospital in Léogâne.

Oral History – A Century of Canadian Military Dentistry will run from May 12 to November 15 in the LeBreton Gallery. The exhibition was produced by the CanadianWarMuseum in partnership with the Royal Canadian Dental Corps.

The CanadianWarMuseum gratefully acknowledges the support of its Official Partners of the Centenary of the First World War: John and Pattie Cleghorn and Family; H.Col (Ret’d) John C. Eaton, O.Ont., K.St.J., D.Com. and H.Col Sally Horsfall Eaton, S.S.St.J., C.D., R.N., LL.D.; The Friends of the CanadianWarMuseum; TD Bank Group; VISITFLANDERS and the R. Howard Webster Foundation.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions.


Media contacts:

Yasmine   Mingay
Director,   Public Affairs
Canadian War    Museum
Telephone:   819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Senior Communications and Media Relations Officer, Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

For more information, follow us on Twitter: @CanWarMuseum.