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Weston Andrew Price - historical dental inventor and researcher

Weston Andrew Price 1870 - 1948
Weston Andrew Price

Did you ever wonder who invented the saliva ejector, that thing that sucks the water and spit out of a patient's mouth?

Weston Andrew Price invented a type of saliva ejector as well as a pyrometer furnace which was for baking enamel in about 1904. Many glass, pottery, steel and iron manufacturing companies used this furnace after Price invented it.

Weston Andrew Price was born on September 6, 1870 in Newbury, Ontario, Canada to Andrew Valleau Price and Adelaide (deMille) Price. His father was a farmer. Price was granted a D.D.S. degree in 1893 from the Collegiate Institute in Napanee, Ontario. On Oct 14, 1897 he married his first wife Florence Anthony, the daughter of a carriage manufacturer named John Anthony. They had a son named Donald Valleau Price. In 1898 he became a U.S. Citizen. In 1913 he received his M.S. degree from the University of Michigan.

He moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota for a few months after leaving Michigan and worked as a dentist. He left in the same year and moved to Cleveland, Ohio where he opened a dental practice and retired there in 1943. At the same time he was working as a dentist he became Director of the Dental Research Institute in Cleveland from 1914 to 1925.

Price was among the first to write papers on the skiagraph which used radioactive salts and was working on this before x-rays were developed. From 1897-99 he researched Roetgen Rays to apply them for use in dentistry. For this he invented a special film with a heavy coating for dental x-rays which was highly sensitive to the x-rays. Price is also credited with developing an opaque and insulating cloth which protected the x-ray operator as well as the patient from the x-ray. The cloth was made into aprons, gloves and tube shields and protected from x-ray burns.

From 1907-08 he came up with a new way to do gold inlays using an impression with a new hard modeling material. He also created a saliva ejector and a tongue and cheek depressor as well as other dental instruments. One of them was a gauge that helped alleviate sensitivity during anesthesia by using pressure.

In 1894 Price began to see that nutrition had a lot to do with dental decay while he was in college. In 1925 he started to travel and did research on this around the world. His research took him to the Arctic, Africa and South American in all traveling a total of approximately 150,000 to study food and dental decay by inhabitants of certain regions of the world. He had a collection of slides which numbered around 3,000 of his global research on diet and dental decay. This collection was donated to the American Academy of Applied Nutrition in Los Angeles, California right before Price died. In 1943 this collection was valued at $500,000. He also donated $15,000 along with the collection for the purpose of studying nutrition. The copyright to Price's book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" was willed to the American Academy of Applied Nutrition upon his death plus $5,000.

Price claimed that diet caused a lot of dental problems. He wanted patients to eat a diet of fresh vegetables and fruits and whole wheat breads and cereals. He wanted people to reduce their intake of refined sugar and flour.

In 1942 his first wife Florence died and he married a widow named Monica (Scott) Salter on Feb 15, 1943.

Weston Price died in Santa Monica, California on Jan 23, 1948. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.