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Saint Apollonia, the Patron Saint of Dentists

NOVEMBER 1ST IS ALL SAINTS DAY, celebrated in honor of all saints, beatified and known and not yet beatified and unknown. On this day, we may take a moment to remember the Patron Saint of Dentists, Saint Apollonia.

The Story of Saint Apollonia

In Alexandria, Egypt, Saint Apollonia was held in high esteem. During the reign of Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), Apollonia was seized by the mob. She had her teeth knock-out and broken. Still, she refused to repeat impious words of blasphemy or lose her chastity during this violent attack. Instead, threw herself onto a burning fire in an act of martyrdom. This account was preserved in a letter of Fabius, Bishop of Antioch, in what is now Syria.

The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches celebrate the feast day of St. Apollonia on February 9th. St. Apollonia is popularly invoked against the toothache because of the torments she had endured to her own teeth. This is why St. Apollonia is the Patron Saint of Dentistry.

Saint Apollonia has Strong Ties to Dentistry

The term Apollonia is often found in dental literature and attached to dental societies. The image of St. Apollonia is the side support of the arms of the British Dental Association. A reliquary containing a tooth reputedly that of Saint Apollonia is still found today in the Cathedral of Porto, Portugal.

This blog was written by Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca of Gorczyca Orthodontics, Antioch, California. Find us at

Top image by Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.


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