Authors: Gheorghe Gh. BĂLAN, Dana Elena MITRICĂ, Silvia Cristina ŢONE, Adriana BĂLAN


The history of medicine and dentistry shows that dental medicine is entitled to take upon itself, as representative elements of the field, symbols or spiritual protectors, religious (either Christian or pagan) archetypes from different historical periods. These paved the way for the elaboration of a long-lasting set of professional and ethical criteria that ennoble today the dental profession. The present study analyzes some of the symbols of historical-religious nature, stressing their cultural impact and the manner in which such symbols are interpreted in various scientific, medical, theological, artistic contexts and, last but not least, in the general social perception. The professional ethical domain of dentistry makes use of numerous symbols with religious connotation, the more so that this branch of medicine and the various religions have numerous elements in common. Either stylistically, or appearing as products of folk culture, the main symbolistic or legendary references specific to dental culture are the legend of Cadmus and the canonization of Saint Apollonia, the champion of dentists and of those suffering from toothache. Such symbols give to the representatives of this profession a feeling of belonging to a noble medical domain; they also decode and facilitate communication with patients, therefore being outflanked by the idea that awareness on the existence of such religious symbols and on their practical cohesion is especially helpful.

  • dentistry
  • Saint Apollonia
  • symbol