In Gallipoli histories that deal with the medical services, the absence of Australian dentists during the first part of the campaign has always been an issue. This omission in the planning was responsible for the fact that a number of soldiers had to be transported back to Egypt and were in some cases invalided for as long as six weeks before they saw fit to return to their units.
By the beginning of July however, the first dentists were at work in the Anzac sector. Whether this put and end to all dental problems was an entirely different question, as can be read in C.E.W. Bean's frontline diary : "The other day a shell landed in the dentists' dugout, and covered the hillside with false teeth. We want dentists badly, now that they let through men whose teeth aren't perfect. The N.Z. people have a corps of them, but we haven't. A man who breaks his teeth is no use on biscuits, and has to go back to Alexandria to get some more..." (entry 5th July)
To enable us to judge the extent of the problem, John Skinner of the Otago Inf. Batt. stated in an interview : "There were of course other problems. I broke my dentures - my top plate - on an army biscuit. So then I had to manage these iron biscuits with only my bottom teeth. I used my entrenching tool to powder them as best I could."
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