The Patron Saint Of Dentistry Yes That’s A Thing
Going to the dental clinic can be scary for some people these days. Rewind a few years and it would have been downright terrifying. If we didn’t have anaesthetic we would have wanted a patron saint to pray to as well.
The second century would have been a nerve wrecking time. The war lords of China were launching ferocious campaigns as Rome sparred with its Mediterranean and Mesopotamian neighbours. Interestingly, it was around this time that one brave person subjected themselves to a 2.5mm bronze wire dental implant, making it the first archaeological evidence of operative dentistry in ancient Israel, and the first known execution of such treatment. But we still feel far worse for Saint Appolonia, the patron saint of dentistry.
Appolonia met a gruesome end in Alexandria, when locals revolted against the Christians after the impassioned prophecy of a poet. She was among other virgin martyrs who were offered no protection by local authorities, who instead allowed the vicious mob torun wild.
The Bishop of Alexandria, Dionysius, shared the misery of his people through letters to the Bishop of Antioch, Fabius, and long extracts of these letters have been preserved to this day. He detailed Appolonia’s death in one of these letters.
Apollonia was known as something of a deaconess, which means that she was held in high esteem when the mob seized her. With repeated blows, they delighted in breaking all of her teeth, before assembling a pile of sticks and bramble which they set alight.
The mob threatened to burn her alive on the flames unless she followed their commands to repeat after them an impious phrase (Either invoking heathen gods or a blasphemous phrase). Apologia quietly requested a little freedom to move from her restraints, which they allowed. However, in a moment of movement, she threw herself on the flames and burnt to death, rather than to speak against her faith.
The feast day of St. Apollonia now falls on the 9th of February and is celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church. Her relics are cared for across a variety of locations, sometimes only a splinter of bone or a single tooth. Her head now rests at the Basilica di Santa Maria in Trastevere, parts of her jaw in St. Basils, her arms are at the Basilica di San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura. Portuguese navigators originally named the island of Mauritius Santa Apolonia in her honour and there is a small number of town squares and train stations named after her dotted throughout Europe.
Throughout human civilisation, we’ve had to endure unsafe and excruciating dental procedures, so many of us would have found solace in praying to St. Apollonia to grant us the resilience and fortitude which she possessed throughout times of dental agony at the hands of non-dentists.
Fortunately, modern Perth dental hospitals and clinics won’t ask you to do that unless you want to. Carillon City Dental provides safe anaesthetic to ensure that you are comfortable throughout your procedure, as well as the option of sleep dentistry, where you can wake up after a dental procedure feeling rested without any recollection of your treatment. Contact our friendly team at our Perth dental centre to find out more.