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July-August 2018

Augusto Coelho e Souza

By Elias Rosenthal, CD - Just as Hippocrates (480-370 BC) is considered the "Father of Medicine" and Pierre Fauchard (1678-1761) is regarded as the "Father of Modern Dentistry" so is Augusto Coelho e Souza (1863-1949) honored as the "Father of Brazilian Dentistry." On February 15, 1999 the 50th anniversary of the death of this most important oral surgeon of the century was observed. He was honored for the books he published, the courses he gave, the always up-to-date knowledge he imparted in many decades of lecturing, for the many articles he wrote defending the dental profession, and for his participation in many dental congresses, both at home and abroad...

Augusto Coelho e Souza: The Father of Brazilian Dentistry


Just as Hippocrates (480-370 BC) is considered the "Father of Medicine" and Pierre Fauchard (1678-1761) is regarded as the "Father of Modern Dentistry" so is Augusto Coelho e Souza (1863-1949) honored as the "Father of Brazilian Dentistry."

On February 15, 1999 the 50th anniversary of the death of this most important oral surgeon of the century was observed. He was honored for the books he published, the courses he gave, the always up-to-date knowledge he imparted in many decades of lecturing, for the many articles he wrote defending the dental profession, and for his participation in many dental congresses, both at home and abroad.

Coelho e Souza was born in Rio de Janeiro on July 2, 1863, and started his education at the Abilio School. At the age of 12 years he moved, with his family to Lisbon where he received an education in the humanities. His father disagreed with his decision to become a teacher, and sent him back to Brazil to work in sales. Following his own ideas, Coelho e Souza started to teach at the Pujol School in Mendes followed by several other schools in the hinterlands. He studied at the high school in Niteroil1 and became an elementary school teacher in 1889, this anticipating his later orientation to teaching.

In 1884 Souza met Brandao, a dental practitioner in the city of Friburgo. From Brandao he learned the basics of dentistry. He returned to Rio de Janeiro where he continued to have an interest in dentistry, and began to leam it with Dr. Antonio Joaquim Napoleao Jeolas, who was a disciple of Dr. John William Coachman of the United States. Dr. Coachman was a renowned oral surgeon who left the US in 1867 because of the Civil War. He was fluent in French and had studied the books of Paul Dubois and Andrieu as well as those of the Americans, Harris and Austen.

Coelho e Souza started a practice in the state of Minas Gerais, where he was consulted frequently by colleagues who wanted to increase their own knowledge to be able to treat more than caries, to extract teeth and to prepare dentures. At the age of almost 37, in 1900 Coelho e Souza wrote the book Odontological Manual (Manual Odontologico), which was edited in Rio de janeiro and published with 207 pages and 75 illustrations. made a sensation in the dental profession! Also in 1900 Dr. Coelho e S o u z a passed the examination before a board of three physicians and one dentist from the School of Pharmacy of Sao Paulo to become an oral surgeon over and above being a general dentist.

Coelho e Souza developed a training course for dental candidates and in 1902 donated all of his material to the School of Pharmacy of Sao Paulo, and gave up his course having received a declaration from the headmaster of that school reading, "Your name will be recorded in the books of honors of the School and you shall always be remembered with gratitude."

Coelho e Souza enrolled in the course in dentistry at the Medical College of Rio de Janeiro in 1904 and finished with honors the next year. His diploma was registered with the Inspection Service on Book 3, page 118. Classmates of his included Frederico Eyer, Agenor Guedes Melo, Roberto de Souza Lopes and Meton de Alencar, all great names in Brazilian dentistry.

The O'Granbery School of Dentistry in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais which was founded on August 22, 1904, extended to Coelho e Souza an invitation to teach. It was accepted and he stayed there for 10 years. These were the best years of that school and brilliant professors at the same time were Antonio Diaz de Carvalho, J.W. Tarbour, and Eduardo Menezes, among others.


He was also a professor at the Faculty of Dentistry and Pharmacy of the University of Minas Gerais, Professor and Emeritus Professor at the National School of Dentistry, Honorary Professor at the School of Dentistry by the Faculty of the Fluminense School of Dentistry, Honorary President of the Brazilian Association of Dentistry (ABO) and the Dentistry Center of Minas Gerais, Honorary President of the Brazilian Federation of Dentistry (FOB); Honorary member of the Association of Oral Surgeons of Sao Paulo and the Brazilian Central Association of Oral Surgeons of the Brazilian Institute of Dentistry of the Dental Society of Uruguay and several other associations. He was a corresponding member of American and European associations. He was vice-president of the Ist Pan American Congress of Dentistry (1917) as well as the Congress of Teachers; President of the Ist Brazilian Congress of Dental Prosthesis and on October 3rd, 1917, in Santiago, Chile he was elected Vice-president of the Latin American Odontological Federation in Brazil (FOLA). That date has been regarded as Latin-American Dentist's Day ever since.


Coelho e Souza produced dozens of articles published in several journals of dentistry having, thus, greatly contributed to the profession.

BOLETIM ODONTOLOGICO (Odontological Newsletter)

* Buccal infection prophylaxis No. 2 1913
* Vulcanite plate without vacuum cavity No. 4 1913
* VVhat dentistry takes from nature No. 8 1914
* Two words about general anesthesia No. 16 1916
* A new base for testing plates No. 30 1921
* Some data on tooth assembly in double dentures No. 31 1921
* Account on odontology in Brazil No. 35 1922 
* Alveolar surgery No. 43 1924
* Deglutition with dentures No. 45 1925
* Considerations on children's teeth matters No. 49 1926
* Observation of dental clinic No. 56 1928

REVISTA DENTARIA BRASILEIRA (Brazilian Dental journal)

* Modern dental therapeutics V.III, no. 4 1912
* Localization of palatal abscesses V.III, no. 4 1912
* About polyarthritis V.III, no. 4 1912
* The evolution of dentistry teaching in Brazil V.IV, no. 1 1913

BRAZIL ODONTOLOCICO (Odontological Brazil)

* On amalgam filling April 1925
* European dentistry at a glance Sept.1925
* Chewing and facial architecture March 1926
* My impressions about the child dental clinic Nov. 1928
* Three months with the "gauchos" July 1931
* Molding the mouth May 1932
* On the Callahan method vix 1932
* Modern concept of pulp mummification V.X 1933
* Exception of the rule Clinic report on the six-year molar vx 1933
* Filtering theory V.X 1933
* Introduction to molding techniques V.X 1933
* Articular problems with double dentures V.X 1933
* Physicians as teachers in faculties of dentistry vx 1933
* Sursum corda vx 1933
* Secondary cement or dental tissue vxi 1934
* On Aluminum vxii 1935
* The end of Randolph alloy V.Xll 1935
* Why and how I became a specialist in double dentures V.X 1936
* Journal of the History of Dentistry/Vol. 48, No. 2/July 2000
* Molar and premolar teeth "Anatoform" in 1918 and in 1938 V.X 193


* Palatal abscesses pathogenesis and Prof. Malet's and Cime Lima's Theories No. 1 1911
* The surgery of the alveoli No. 5 1912
* Medical inspection of schools No. VIII 1913
* Palatal abscess localization March, 1914
* Inaugural lesson on dental prosthesis June, 1914
* Consideration about some new products applied to dental therapeutics Dec., 1915
* Pedodontic clinics Dec., 1914


* Stability problems of full dentures Jan., 1918
* The defense of amalgam No. 4 Oct., 1918
* Considerations about full dentures minutes and works of the II Latin American Odontology Congress Buenos Aires 1928
* Vulcanite veils in contact adherence minutes and works of the III Latin American Odontological Congress (FOLA) V.II 1930
* On pedodontics-minutes and works of the Ill Latin American Odontological Congress V.II 1930

(Brazilian Archives of Stomatology)

* Simplification of the articular technique in dentures Oct., 1930

Coelho e Souza's most noteworthy work was the Odontological Manual, a true encyclopedia, which was published in 1900 and consisted of several volumes. It was to influence several generations of Brazilian dentists. It was important since it provided access to mate rial available otherwise only in French, English, German, or Italian. It appeared in about 9 editions, and in each he updated current information and presented new concepts and techniques. The 2d edition of the Odonto logical Manual appeared in 1905 with 382 pages, and 71 illustrations drawn by Julio Vaz (Coelho e Souza's stu dent). It was prepared in collaboration with Dr. Diaz de Carvalho, also a professor at the O'Granbery School.

Following publication of the 2d edition Coelho e Souza took his first trip to Europe where he attended classes in French dental schools. In 1912 he went to the U.S.A. and visited the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Soon after he returned to Europe from where he transmitted the 4th edition of the manual. This edition appeared in two volumes. The first was directed to the first year student and included anatomy, physiology, histology, and general pathology. It was published with 494 pages and 188 illustrations by "Tipografia Brazil" in Juiz de Fora. The second volume was published by "Tipografia do Anuario Comercial" in Lisbon with 830 pages and 565 illustrations. It included therapeutics, special pathology, prosthetics, and clinics, and was directed to the second year student.

The 5th edition dated 1916 and 1917 now an encyclopedia was divided into four volumes: Dental Prosthesis, Applied Dental Therapeutics, Pathology, Anatomy, Histology, Physiology, General Pathology and Hygiene and Dental Practice (by Prof. A. Dias de Carvalho). Altogether this edition had 2154 pages and 1479 illustrations, many of which were colored. About that edition, Florestan de Aguilar, the famous Spanish oral surgeon, once said "De luxo e bom gosto desta eduicao posso afirmar que esta vez o povem Brasil deu uma boa licao na velha Europa."2

At this time, Coelho e Souza was a professor of Dental Prosthesis at the Course of Dentistry of the Faculty of Medicine of Belo Horizonte (known today as Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).

In 1923 the 6th edition was published in Juiz de Fora, MG, by Companhia Dias Cardoso with 612 pages and 436 illustrations. In 1926 the book, Dental Prosthesis, was released, with 531 pages by the same publisher. Companhia Dias Cardoso published the 7th edition with 528 pages and 196 illustrations. The prosthesis volume is divided into Crowns and Partial Dentures and Full Dentures.


In 1932 the 8th edition with 497 pages, was released by the same publisher. Twelve years later, in 1944,"Editora Scientifica" from Rio de Janeiro published the 9th edition of the volume Anatomy and the 9th edition of Dental prosthesis; crowns and partial dentures with 470 pages and Complete dental prosthesis with 346 pages in 1950, Crowns and partial dentures, 10th edition and in 1955 the Ilth edition. Dental Pathology and Pathology elements preceded Therapeutic with 586 pages were released. It is interesting to notice that some of the books of the same edition were edited separately in different years.

The number of editions is a sign of the great national and international renown of this great master. Professor Aguilar, from Madrid, suggested that it was published in French and Spanish and complemented its conciseness and didactic value. In addition to writing articles for journals, he was also editor of the Revista Den taria Brasileira (Brazilian Dental Journal) along with Lima Netto, Luiz Carlos de Oliveira and Raul Pereira Lima. He also worked for the Boletim da Associacao Central Brasileira de Cirurgioes Dentistas ACBCD (Brazilian Central Association of Oral Surgeons Newsletter), in which he wrote the article, History of Dentistry in Brazil from 1500 until today3 published in the Revista Brasil Odontologico.

He founded the Professor Coelho e Souza Prothesis Course situated on Rua Goncalves Dias in Rio de janeiro and the last classes received their diplomas in Juiz de Fora in 1947.

His last book, Molding in double dentures, was published by Tipografia Brasil in 1943. The journal Selecoes Odontologicas (Odontological Selections) from Sao Paulo published his last article: "The back closing in double dentures" illustrated by Jose de Oliveira Mot (head of the Central Dental Clinic of the Navy, in Cobras, Rio de janeiro) in its January-June 1947 issue.

As he was a very dynamic individual he would still revise his books, at the age of 80 and in associations or in the media, he would always devotedly and ardently defend his point of view. His participation both in national and international congresses, would always be outstanding. He dignifiedly represented Brazil always bringing important reports which he announced on his returns. He was named by Aloysio de Castro as "the Master of the Masters".

Dr. Florestan Agular, professor at the University of Madrid, said in 1918: "I had the pleasure of receiving a copy of Dental and Therapeutic Pathology and, honestly I must express the pleasure it has given me. This work is worth the greatest praise for its excellent clinical criteria and for being up-to-date. We can qualify it as the most complete book in its subject."

Comment on the 6th edition of the Odontological Manual, published by the Revista Odontologica Brasileira in June 1921 was: "May future generations write his name with golden letters in the heroic deeds of dentistry among the ones who did the most for the beauty and magnificence of our work".

Dr. Antonio Campos de Oliveira, Professor of Pedodontics at the School of Pharmacy and Dentistry of the University of Sao Paulo in April 1929 said: "Brazil has several respectable names in the different branches of knowledge. The one who exemplifies this also honors the profession of the country. If in Brazil he is considered Master of Masters, according to the fair ideas of Aloysio de Castro, director of the Faculty of Medicine of Rio de janeiro, abroad, in the U.S.A. he appears next to Otto Inglis, acclaimed professor from Philadelphia who once wrote in a letter dated October 15,1916: "I found Prof. Coelho e Souza's pathology and therapeutics discussed in such extent and novelty that I am going to use them in the next edition of my book.

Dr. Linneu Prestes, Dean of the University of Sao Paulo, in 1939 said: Prof. Coelho e Souza's example is one of the most beautiful chapters of Brazilian dentistry

Prof. Juan B. Patrone, of the University of Buenos Aires, in 1949 affirmed: "Prof. Coelho e Souza was during his life the prototype of modesty, efficiency and dignity. His great example will be undoubtedly imitated by those who received the virtues that have made him immortal.

From an editorial of the APCD journal (journal of the Dental Association of Sao Paulo): "He well deserves our praise and our endless respects. In the academy, in the press, in books, his benefic influence, his contagious enthusiasm, his professional dignity was felt broadly and notably and for that reason he was called THE FATHER OF BRAZILIAN DENTISTRY."

Coelho e Souza, a respected individual of a vast culture, extraordinary pleasantness, outstanding moral virtues and a great capacity for work and love to the professional, became dear to everyone and received along his life constant homage and praise. He was a member of the Brazilian Academy of Dentistry, holding the Chair No. 1. He was undoubtedly the greatest oral surgeon of this century in Brazil.

He died on February 15th, 1949, at the age of 85 in juiz de Fora, MG. His grave in the Nossa Senhora da Gloria Cemetery was projected and built in December 1951 by Dr. Mario Pereira de Lima, then President of the Odontological Center of Minas Gerais, and his team. In 1998 the Brazilian Dental Association JF (ABO-JF) changed its statutes and in this reform it assumed the responsibility of care of Coelho e Souza's grave.



  1. In these years Brazilian schools had different curricula and one of these was aimed at elementary education
  2. Based on the elegance and good taste of this edition. I can affirm that this time "young" Brazilian has taught "old" Europe a good
  3. Title "Historia da Odontologia no Brasil de 1500 ate nossos dias"

Elias Rosenthal, CD is Director of the Museum of Dentistry of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Article orginally published in the Journal of the History of Dentistry
Vol. 48, No. 2/July 2000 copyright ©2000, all rights reserved


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