UB Yesterday: Early 1900s

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Early 1900s UB dental school students administering care to patients

Photo: University Archives.

By Jeff Klein

Dental clinics looked a bit different at the turn of the 20th century than they do today, as illustrated by this photo inside the UB dental school’s then-new building at 25 Goodrich St. In those days, dentists stood rather than sat chairside while administering care, so they could really pack those patients in.

UB’s dental department was founded in 1892, and the Goodrich Street building, constructed in 1898, was the school’s first permanent home. It stood just steps away from the medical school’s building on High Street (and a few more steps away from the current site of the Jacobs School of Medical and Biomedical Sciences). George B. Snow, the dean, was especially proud of the department’s quarters, and of its clinical facilities.

“The school is the sole occupant of a building designed and erected especially for its uses … nearly in the geographical center of a city of four hundred thousand inhabitants,” he wrote in a 1908 edition of The Dental Forum, the department’s fortnightly publication. “An abundance of patients is afforded, giving the students excellent opportunities for obtaining the practical experience so necessary to success in dental practice.”

Dental remained at 25 Goodrich until 1953, when it moved to the South Campus, where it still resides today as the UB School of Dental Medicine. And its tradition of providing clinical care to an “abundance” of patients is stronger than ever. Each year, the school accommodates some 60,000 patient care visits at its Squire Hall and Erie County Health Mall dental clinics and in its Mobile Dental Unit in the Southern Tier. That’s a lot of rinsing and spitting.