Travel back 100 years when patients could get a tooth pulled of 50 cents.

Buckeye Supply Catalog_webcrop

By Larry Cohen/Benco Dental Chairman and Chief Customer Advocate

This century-old dental catalog from the Buckeye Dental Supply Co. is my per­sonal equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls. (If any readers/archaeologists are in To­ledo, I would love to know if the old Ohio Building still stands.) But rather than of­fering exceptional insight into antiquity, this catalog provides exceptional insight into the early years of dentistry.

Larry Cohen, Chairman and Chief Customer Advocate

Larry Cohen, Chairman and Chief Customer Advocate

Let’s go back 100 years: A dentist could purchase an intri cately carved, sol­id-oak dental cabinet for $70, while an oak roll-top would run $65. Waiting-room chairs – made of oak, of course – cost $13.50 a pop. As for the operatory, $190 would get you a state-of-the-art Ritter pump chair, complete with leather seat and ball-and-socket head rest.

That furniture and dental chair were quality products and sturdily construct­ed – built to last! One glaring exception, however, was the $3 forceps pictured above. These were made of chrome-plated steel – and when the chrome peeled off (and it did soon enough), the rust began in earnest. But then, how much could pa­tients have expected when extractions ran 50 cents a tooth?

LARRY COHEN, Benco Dental’s chairman and chief customer advocate, has over the past half century collected hundreds of unique dental artifacts, which reside at Benco’s world headquarters in Pittston, Pennsylvania. 

From the diary of a coffee convert: Just say no.


Contrary to what you might hear about me, I’m not a coffee hater.

For 44.5 years this was not the case; I despised everything about the so-called ground goodness.  The aroma, people’s coffee breath, the  cult-following, coffee spills in my car (when transporting it for others) — it just left me cold.

Since age 5, when my Grandmom Jennie gave me one teaspoonful of the bitter blend, there was no convincing me otherwise:  The stuff was awful.

In August, my colleague and friend Loriah introduced me to iced coffee in our company canteen (free until 11 a.m. daily, thanks Benco Dental.) I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but I decided to give the brew one last chance. As a mom of a busy toddler, maybe I just needed more caffeine in my day to keep up pace. Maybe it was a weak moment, or peer pressure.

Either way, I was hooked. Mostly on the hum, buzz and jolt – sorry, coffee, I still think you’re a bit bitter.

Here’s the rub — after 20 years as a print journalist where coffee is currency, I now work in the dental industry where, let’s just say, coffee is not always a reason to smile.

Consider the following from American Dental Association’s website:

In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.

So, in honor of National Coffee Day tomorrow, Sept. 29, when everyone and their uncle is sharing a list of locales that will give you a complimentary cuppa, remember this: just say no.

There’s no going back once you jump on the bandwagon of this sorry swill. Stick to water, dailyflossers — and the natural buzz that comes from knowing your teeth are white and your breath is fresh.

Need a dose of dental humor? Billy Crystal delivers.


In the movie Tooth Fairy he helped a hockey player known for knocking out his opponents’ teeth fulfill children’s dreams as the fabled tooth transporter.

But that doesn’t mean comedian Billy Crystal won’t earn a few laughs at the expense of his toothless grandparents, or his oral health care providers.

If you’re a dentist or hygienist in need of a Saturday smile (at your expense, of course) catch up with the comedian at

Tooth truth? One British clinician is mythbusting for better smiles.


Dr. Sameer Patel, Clinical Director at award-winning specialist dental and orthodontic practice Elleven, recently distinguished oral hygiene routine myths from fact in an interview with Hello magazine.

MYTH: Rinse your mouth out with water after you have brushed your teeth. 

FACT: Do not rinse after you have brushed your teeth as this washes away the fluoride in the toothpaste which is good for your teeth and helps prevent tooth decay. Just spit out the excess toothpaste.

MYTH: Electric toothbrushes are better than a manual toothbrush. 
FACT: Both electric and manual toothbrushes are fine to use on your teeth, however you need to have the correct manual technique if you opt for the latter. If your technique is not as good manually, then you will see a difference in your oral hygiene if you switch to an electric toothbrush.

Read nine more tips at:

Discussing the elephants in the room: Artist shares vision for dental ward

Photo of Royal London Hospital courtesy
Artist and Illustrator Stephen Smith

The artist’s challenges: Create artwork that appeals to young patients of varying ages in a location where there exists not one single large wall on which to hang your work for display. Sidenote, must be easy to sanitize.

Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Illustrator Stephen Smith, of the Neasden Control Centre, explained to how those  parameters inspired his designs at Whitechapel Dental Ward: “It needed to be cool but not too scary.” As for the layout of the Royal London Hospital’s ward, busy with patients and furniture: “It was a major challenge to design and ensure that there was a good flow of work throughout the space and that not one single area was dominating another,” he added.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

All the artwork was carefully measured to fit between dental practice furnishings, along corridors, around pillars.

Which explains toucans perched above operatory chairs and cheetahs guarding nitrile glove dispensers. As for the aforementioned elephants, intermingled with skyscrapers and skateboarders, not to mention foxes, giraffes and hound dogs, the artist said he attempted to blend the patients’  familiar city vision with an imaginative world of the wild.

Smith told Creative Review: “It was important that being in an

Photographs by Owen Richards.

Photographs by Owen Richards.

inner city hospital the artwork responded to the nature of the site in Whitechapel – and reflected the urban nature of many of the kids who use it. I wanted to create an environment that responded to this, but also build a world that was wild and full of animals and forests.”

After being approached last year by Vital Arts, the arts organisation for Barts Health NHS Trust, Smith spent time with head doctors and staff on the ward as part of his creative process. His commission (in vinyl, in keeping with the cleanliness factor) was recently unveiled.

The end result, according to Vital Arts’ Mark Sinclair:

“Much of the artwork is used in locations where Smith’s illustrations can be viewed from the dental chair – to help relax patients while creating a warm and stimulating environment for the dental staff.”

For the full story and additional images of Stephen Smith’s art at Whitechapel, visit:


Photographs by Owen Richards