Throughout history, dental modifications have established individuals' identity and perceived place in their culture. The precise origin of dental modifications is unknown, and is not specific to any geographic region, occurring around the world both simultaneously and asynchronously throughout time. Today, dental modifications continue to be an important aspect of shifting cultural identities, including traditional practices like teeth sharpening and more modern and less permanent interpretations like wearing removable grillz.
Highlighting the life of the most famous dentist of the West, John Henry "Doc" Holliday, this exhibit focuses on an often-overlooked aspect of his story, his dental career. By exploring his childhood, dentistry during his lifetime, dental school requirements, and career, a new picture of Doc emerges; one that is just as necessary as the rest to his narrative. Learn how Doc earned his moniker, and why he seemingly “gave up the business of filling teeth with gold for that of filling men with lead.”
The validity of the science of forensic odontology has come into question over the last few decades, especially as DNA analysis has been more heavily relied on since the 1990s. While forensic odontological evidence can be helpful in both criminal and civil law cases, it is not a conclusive form of evidence unless coupled with other sufficient evidence. This exhibit takes a look at the history, controversy, and sucessful uses of forensic odontology.