Painless Parker – Where It All Started

Edgar R. R. Parker, AKA Painless Parker, was born in 1872, in New Brunswick, Canada. Parker examined at Acadia University (potent Baptist spiritual affiliation) in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and later on at the Baptist Seminary in St. Martins, New Brunswick. He was expelled from the two. If nothing at all else, Parker achieved the Bible-thumping pulpit oratory of a paster in the late 1800s.

Later, Parker enrolled at the New York College or university of Dentistry (now, New York University (NYU) Higher education of Dentistry). In get to finance his research, Parker engaged in unlicensed doorway-to-doorway dentistry. When the faculty found out his unethical activities, Parker was expelled once once more, as was his sample.

Coincidentally, more than a person-hundred several years later on, NYU College or university of Dentistry would keep Dr. Roger Levin in collaboration with previous Dean, Dr. Michael C. Alfano, to put into practice the Levin Team Strategy, which put a emphasis on students’ era of output income for the dental college. Some of that money concentration led to regrettable results for students and the program’s reputation. NYU University of Dentistry has given that amended that curriculum work.

painless Parker

Web site from Tacoma occasions (Tacoma, Wash. : 1903) (newspaper). [See LCCN: sn88085187 for catalog record.]. Ready on behalf of Washington State Library Olympia, WA.

Undeterred, Parker went on to the Philadelphia Dental University (now, Temple College School of Dentistry), which he graduated from in 1892. Temple University School of Dentistry’s Historic Museum has a screen focused to Parker, with his necklace of 357 tooth, and a significant bucket loaded to the brim with enamel that he experienced personally extracted. Allegedly the tooth necklace was the end result of a one day of exodontia on a vaudeville phase, and usually worn in the course of his exhibitions to the public.

The bucket of enamel sat by his ft as he educated his tent exhibit audiences, on the benefit and advantages of dental cleanliness.

Parker found economic achievements once he partnered with former P.T. Barnum manager, William Beebe. The pair developed a dental traveling circus. Parker was attired in top hat, a large lapeled coat with tails, and his famed necklace of human teeth. He also sported a Vandyke mustache and goatee.

A sham client would be planted in the audience. Parker would faux to painlessly extract a molar for the crowd, which was beforehand extracted and now placed in the mouth of the “patient.” This was only a person shill Parker played to exhibit his dental extraction method was without a doubt pain-free.

This methodology of deception is not way too far removed from present day fake on the web dental testimonials. It also mimics Tv set and radio ads of cozy dentistry rendered by bogus testimonials and phony reenactments.

Parker’s dental theater bundled circus animals, contortionists, beautiful dancing females, and most importantly, a brass band. If a genuine dental extraction client were being to cry out in ache, Parker would speedily tap his foot on the ground. That signaled the band to participate in louder and drown out the patient’s moans and shrieks.

Currently, we see equivalent solutions with good distraction approaches, this kind of as audio headphones or a tv display mounted on the ceiling for individual viewing. Dental hypnosis is yet another beneficial method.

Adverse fashionable similarities incorporate children’s Medicaid mill clinics, which drown out sounds of screaming youngsters strapped into papoose boards with inadequate local anesthesia. The clinical location radio’s volume will be cranked to the best environment attainable. Moms and dads attuned to their child’s voice sitting down in the distant reception space will listen to absolutely nothing of concern.

The dental theatrical stage achievement peaked, and by 1900, Parker was functioning 5 dental clinics in New York City and furthermore, a single each in Albany and Troy, New York. Every of his 15 hired affiliate dentists would get the job done a few chairs each and every. Overhead pulleys and clotheslines had been mounted in each clinic, in get to deliver billing statements to the office’s front desk.

Newspaper print advertisements and big practically-billboard sized indications would boost Parker’s pain-free dental expert services.

This represented the early starting of chain dental service organization (DSO) dentistry. Parker brought various efficiencies into his clinics to optimize creation, which are copied in a assortment of sorts right now. He pioneered higher-quantity, lower-cost dentistry. He concentrated excellent energy on advertising, no matter if or not there existed significantly veracity in his advertising.

Parker also innovated community anesthetic prior to the invention of Novocain (precursor to lidocaine). He injected a diluted variety of cocaine into tooth cavities (not gentle tissue). If the cocaine alternative entered pulpal tissue of a severely carious tooth, he might accomplish anesthesia. If the medication inadvertently dripped onto gingival tissue, he yet again may accomplish a diploma of localized anesthesia. All as well generally, “Painless” Parker frequently depended upon the distraction cacophony of his brass band and a shot of tricky liquor.

Into our modern-day period, pharmaceutical quality cocaine spray may be applied topically to supply profound anesthesia for nasotracheal intubation. A lot of oral maxillo-facial surgeons and anesthesiologists maintain a offer.

Parker, often the perpetual marketeer, hawked a line of goods which include Pain-free Parker’s Antiseptic Mouth Clean, Painless Parker’s Toothpaste, and Pain-free Parker’s Tooth Powder. Again, we see this sort of dental sales paradigm in full drive nowadays.

Parker was often detested by his colleagues as performing unprofessionally and demeaning to the dental profession. The American Dental Association (ADA) openly referred to as Parker, “a menace to the dignity of the dental career.” Though his employee dentists earned an higher tier income, a lot of have been ashamed to operate for him. Lots of experienced major liquor problems.

We see this case in point currently with common or mainstream health professionals contacting out alleged dental hucksters and charlatans. From time to time those decried are functioning chain clinics or marketing procedures and components, which may possibly not have comprehensively passed a structured peer-critique approach, or are already verified of nominal efficacy. Some allegedly area dollar manufacturing over individual welfare.

A few are actually at the forefront of dental science and affected individual education and learning. They are perhaps misunderstood in their recent time.

At age 35, in 1905, Parker elected to money-out and enter early retirement. He marketed off his New York clinics and headed to sunny Los Angeles with his family.

Retirement was brief-lived and Parker established his “Parker Dental Circus” in 1908.

The display would travel to towns up-and-down the California coastline. A morning parade would attract desire and a group. Afterwards in the afternoon, circus functions were conducted. A highlight was Parker’s academic lectures on dental hygiene. The show’s finale was Parker drawing a group for dental extraction expert services. And the band played on.

California establishment dentistry resented Parker’s methodology. He was perceived as small far more than a snake oil salesman.

When statutes were being enforced to restrict the variety of clinics a solitary health practitioner could lawfully personal, Parker franchised his identify to other dentist entrepreneurs. This at some point totaled 30 dental clinics, 79 dentists, in eight states, below the “Painless Parker’s Dental Parlors” business brand name.

A related structure of franchise dentistry is totally evident these days. It is normally unclear if these “owner” dentists were being then nominal owners, valuable house owners, anything in involving, or franchise owners. The same opaque possession composition exists these days in the entire world of company dentistry.

Problems also arrived just before the Dental Board of California that bogus advertising was created by applying the promoting manufacturer “Painless Parker.” In 1915, Parker legally changed his title to Pain-free Parker to circumvent statutes prohibiting fictitious possession titles.

Parker’s endeavours produced him a very rich man. In 1915, Parker ordered the 218 acre Valle Vista Ranch (currently identified as Parker Ranch neighborhood) in the Santa Cruz Mountains as a relatives escape. He owned a luxury San Francisco town house, a yacht capable of crossing the Pacific Ocean, a secure of driving horses, a non-public swimming pool, and a distinctive vehicle for every single day of the 7 days.

The contemporary environment of corporate dentistry flaunts those people find handful of with non-public jets, luxurious and unique antique vehicles, mega-mansion homes, exceptional genuine estate attributes, and a own web truly worth nearly the gross domestic product (GDP) figures of Third Earth counties. Parker could have conveniently rubbed elbows with the financial tremendous-elites of the fashionable dental field.

Parker also retained “interests” in New England dental clinics, which he lawfully was not permitted to individual less than state statutes. He held the assets of the true estate, the professional creating structures, the tools, and the very good-will of the methods which were being operated by hired associates. Again, we witness similar functions these days within just the DSO sector.

Parker also ran his have affected individual finance organization, as well as a selection agency. “Pay for your plates as your dress in them” was one particular internet marketing slogan. A single hesitates to picture a repo male using back again a established of dentures, with an fantastic stability owed Parker.

Client funding for dental procedure is an vital component in contemporary dentistry. Parker was an early innovator.


It is unbelievably tough to qualify Parker as all good or all terrible. Sure, Parker opened up entry to treatment for the fewer advantaged, his focus on demographic. He produced dentistry reasonably priced as a result of decreased charge and financing. Concurrently, the level of treatment was commonly of dubious price.

He was not an elite and conveniently connected to normal people, his sufferers.

At the exact same time, like P.T. Barnum, Parker utilized deception and manipulation to obtain his individual aims, which were not always aligned in the patient’s interest.

He was unquestionably a promoting genius. Even so, he usually made use of all those implies to suspect ends. Individuals had been entertained, but also deceived and could be physically harmed.

Numbers of clients reported psychological devastation and humiliation soon after the general public display of their exodontia.

During the period of time before antibiotics when dental bacterial infections could effortlessly guide to mortality, think upon a destitute client suffering a debilitating toothache. Their only fiscally viable alternative for relief may possibly be in essence, to take part as the freak exhibit of a carnival act.

Parker was an innovator not only in the aforementioned dental marketing and advertising, but also branding. This is evidenced by a line of dental hygiene solutions, as very well as a chain of branded dental clinics. Nonetheless, 1 should dilemma intrusion of a non-disclosed third bash into the medical doctor/patient marriage, as Parker pulled the strings remotely off-stage, for his chain of clinics.

Parker also cast developments in community anesthetics, dental business efficiencies, dental workplace staffing, and advocating for preventive dentistry. In particular thinking about the time time period in which he practiced, Parker merits remaining lauded for these types of qualified service. Other behaviors seem a lot less noble.

A lineage from Parker to the DSO and franchise dental sector, misleading and bogus advertising and marketing in health care, mega sized dental clinics, dental funding, dental advertising and branding, extended-standing circumvention of a state’s dental follow act, progress in area anesthesia, preventive actions of dental hygiene, and so forth. can all traditionally be drawn.

Parker was interred on November 10, 1952, at age 80.

It all started out with Pain-free Parker.


Dr. Michael W. Davis tactics standard dentistry in Santa Fe, NM. He also provides lawyer clients with legal pro witness work and consultation. Davis also now chairs the Santa Fe District Dental Culture Peer Overview Committee. He can be achieved at [email protected].