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Museum of Dentistry

Informal name for the 280mē Waht Witthayawat (fig.) Museum in Bangkok, located on the campus of the Chulalongkorn University and associated to the Faculty of Dentistry, which was founded in 1940 as the nation's first institution for the education of oral health personnel. The museum hosts a large collection of a wide range of historical objects, photographs and documents, that reflect the development of dentistry in Thailand (fig.). Since WWII, the faculty has undergone several renovations and improvements, and the discarded equipment was initially stored without proper maintenance, until the realization of their historical value grew. Hence in 1982, the year of Bangkok's bicentennial anniversary, all related matter and historical utensils were gathered and brought together into a museum by the then dean of the faculty, and was established in commemoration of Luang Waht Witthayawat, the first dean and founder of the Faculty of Dentistry. On display today are tooth samples with various abnormalities, old textbooks used in the time of Phibun Songkram (fig.) and historical dental equipment, including a wooden dental chair from 1928 and an X-ray unit from 1935. The items on display were gathered from a variety of places, such as the Faculty of Dentistry, the clinic at Building 5, the Police Hospital, and Thailand's first few dental clinics on Charoen Krung Road (fig.) operated by Chinese dentists. The most precious items on exhibit are considered those pertaining to the royal treatments of King Bhumiphon (fig.), including a royal dental chair, an X-ray unit used to take dental photographs of the kings since his childhood, a silver water cup, oral examination tools (such as a mouth mirror, explorer and forceps), as well as an extracted tooth (fig.). In 2010 the museum was renovated to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Faculty of Dentistry. In Thai, the museum is known by the name Phiphithaphan Waht Witthayawat. See also POSTAGE STAMP and MAP.