Edinburgh World Heritage

35 Thistle Street - Dentist by Royal Appointment

If you had trouble with your teeth in 1815 you could do no better than visit James Law here at 35 Thistle Street - dentist by appointment to the Prince Regent.

The Prince was well known for living a life of excess, particularly in his love of food and drink. He had employed the French chef Antonin Careme as his personal cook, a man regarded as the father of haute cuisine. By 1815 he was considerably overweight and it is safe to assume he would have needed a good dentist.

Although James Law would have studied his work, there was no organised training for being a dentist. A lot of his work would have involved extracting teeth, and of course there were no painkillers. His clients would have been wealthy, not just because of his costly fees but because of their sugar packed diets. This was appreciated at the time, as one dentistry textbook said, “People who eat most sweetmeats are subject to disorders. Peasants suffer less in this way, unlike those of rank and opulence.”

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