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Connecticut State Dental Association

Press Release Details

Be Thankful for Friends, Family and Groundbreaking Dental Innovations

Each year at Thanksgiving we reflect on our friends, family and health. This year, the Connecticut State Dental Association (CSDA) would like to remind residents of the role dental health plays in overall well-being, and our state’s contributions to advancing this field over the years.

From policies which have expanded access to dental care, to the breakthroughs that make those dental visits pain free, the CSDA believes our state’s leadership position in dental medicine is something to be thankful for.

If you’ve recently been to the dentist for a procedure more involved than a routine cleaning and left with no pain at all, make sure to thank Dr. Horace Wells before biting into that turkey. A Vermonter by birth, and Nutmegger by choice, Dr. Wells was a dentist and inventor whose creativity led to the widespread use of anesthesia.

“Dr. Wells was a well-regarded dentist at the time, and essentially stumbled into the advancement that has gone on to alter the entire field of dentistry, and medicine in general,” informed Dr. David Fried, President, CSDA. “Dr. Wells and his wife attended a show in Hartford in which a member of the audience volunteered to inhale laughing gas. During the act, the participant bumped into a table and cut his leg but showed no signs of pain.”

After some initial tinkering, Dr. Wells went on to use the gas on his patients and advocated for its use throughout the northeast. Eventually, in 1864, he was posthumously recognized by the American Dental Association as the discoverer of anesthesia.

“From the discovery of Dr. Wells, to participation in the HUSKY program, which helps ensure all of our residents have access to dependable oral care, Connecticut dentists continue to make significant contributions to the oral health of our citizens. The CSDA is proud to help Connecticut dentists continue their tradition of innovative care.”

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