Online Exhibits

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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.


Ivory has been long a culturally and economically valuable material due to its rarity and ties to specific animals, but why did it become significant in the dental world? To answer that question, understanding where ivory comes from, how it is harvested, and then how it is made into items that have been used by people for hundreds of years is essential. Through exploring how these ivory tusks aid animals in their habitats and establish hierarchies in animal and human communities, the significance of ivory in dentistry becomes clearer.


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 successful uses of forensic odontology.


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.”


For centuries, all around the world, teeth have inspired the folklore, rituals, and legends that are parts of numerous cultures. This exhibit will introduce you to the inspirations behind the Tooth Fairy, explore the mystic attributes and uses of the tooth, and the superstitions that come with teething. The Magic of Teeth will provide you with a new understanding of just how influential what’s in your mouth has been throughout history.


MouthPower® helps young people discover the power of a healthy smile and the importance of oral health in a healthy life. Children learn how to brush and floss the right way, why to say no to tobacco, how to make healthy food choices, and what kinds of careers are possible in the world of dentistry. Explore Mouthie’s online laboratory to learn about how to brush your teeth, what tobacco can do to your mouth and how to make healthy food choices.

Tales as Old as Teeth

The practice of dentistry and oral healthcare has existed in some form for thousands of years. Tales as Old as Teeth explores three distinct phases of dental history, from its most ancient origins in the prehistoric era to the beginning of modern dentistry in the 1700s. We will see that oral healthcare has been an integral part of human history, and that even our most ancient ancestors recognized the value of healthy teeth. 


Tuesday - Friday: 10am to 4pm


31 S. Greene St. Baltimore, MD 21201



The Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry is an auxiliary enterprise of the University of Maryland, School of Dentistry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

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