In the 1870s dentists were more likely to extract teeth than attempt to restore or repair them. Many settlers were interested in getting troublesome teeth pulled and, if they could afford it, replacing them with false teeth made from ivory, gold, human or porcelain teeth. This posed mock extraction was set up in the photographic studio of the Tait brothers in Masterton, probably in the 1870s. Joseph Iorns is the patient, held down in the dentist's chair by two men, while another brandishes the pliers. In many rural areas, family members would probably use pliers to extract the teeth of others in their household, since dentists were rare in the new colony and not always accessible to those on remote farms.
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