Lothian Hospital Histories

Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School

In 1856 Dr John Smith inaugurated a course of instruction on "Physiology and Diseases of the Teeth" at Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh.  In 1857 the first special treatment of dental disease was carried out at the Royal Public Dispensary.

It became clear that facilities would have to be provided for the treatment of necessitous patients and the training of dental students. To this end Dr Smith enlisted the co-operation of other practitioners. Thanks to their efforts the Edinburgh Dental Dispensary was opened at no. 1 Drummond Street in January 1860. In 1862 it moved to premises in Cockburn Street. Two years later it moved again, to larger premises in the same street.

In November 1878 the Dispensary, in co-operation with the Scottish Dental Education Committee, established a Dental Hospital and School in Brown Square, now Chambers Street. This institution was incorporated in 1892.  In 1889 the Dental Hospital was moved to 5 Lauriston Lane, the property of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  In 1894 it returned to Chambers Street. In 1903 the adjoining building was purchased, and plans were drawn up for an extension to be built between these buildings and the pavement line. These plans had to be postponed because of the war, and it was not until 1927 that the new building was opened.

In 1948 the Dental Hospital came under the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board, forming part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Associated Hospitals group. In 1974 it became part of the South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board, and went on to be part of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh NHS Trust and Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust. The School had separated from the Hospital in 1948, and it closed in 1994.

Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School records