Nebraska dental museum opens wide with history

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Dr. Stan Harn glances over his spread of primitive dental tools and grabs a T-shaped metal instrument with a hook on one end.

This, he explains, is a turnkey. It looks like, and may have inspired, the modern-day basin wrench. The metal hook goes into a patient's mouth and latches onto a damaged tooth. The dentist clutches the handle and twists. Turn too hard and patients could — and sometimes did — lose a piece of jaw.

"You can see the amount of torque it generates," Harn said. "It was brutal."

The turnkey is arguably the most cringe-inducing tool in a University of Nebraska Medical Center collection that includes foot-powered drills, wartime dental chairs and X-ray machines with exposed wiring. The College of Dentistry will show off such tools at its free, once-a-year museum that will be open Monday through Saturday in Lincoln....

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