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When I was a child in the 70s I would stay with my grand parents and read children's sci fi. They had a particular book containing a collection of short stories one of which was about a human guy whose job was to fly around space cleaning the teeth of giant space creatures. He was so small in comparison to the giant aliens teeth that he was no bigger than their smallest teeth.

Can anyone let me know if they know the story, author or the collection of stories?

I would love to find this book again.

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    Hi, the dentist was human, not alien. The reason I used orthodontist was a vague (possibly/probably incorrect) recollection that the word was used in the title of the short story. Thanks tho, I didn't know the difference 😊 Dec 29 '18 at 11:08
  • @FuzzyBoots OP was looking for a COLLECTION of scifi stories ONE of which was about a space dentist. I suggested Young Extraterrestrilals (a bit later that the 70s when the OP says he read it); the OP's comment acknowledges that the space dentist was Anthon's Dr. Dillingham but I don't see where he accepts Young Extraterrestrials as the book. (Prostho Plus is out as its ALL about the space dentist.) Not a dupe because (a) unaccepted and (b) Young Extraterrestrials != "Monarch". Your thoughts?
    – user14111
    Nov 25 '21 at 10:51
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    @user14111: It's Complicated. The querent asked for the collection, story, or author, and it seems that they didn't think it was Young Extraterrestrials. And, based on the description, it now seems unlikely they were thinking of Monarch. I probably acted too quickly.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 25 '21 at 12:35
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+50

Piers Anthony's novel Prostho Plus is a fix-up of his series of short stories about a prosthodontist named Dr. Dillingham who is abducted by aliens and forced to travel around the universe fixing the teeth of various alien monsters.

One of those short stories, "In the Jaws of Danger", appeared in an anthology called Young Extraterrestrials which featured a picture of Dr. Dillingham on the cover, working on a giant tooth, but that came out in 1984, too late to be the book you're thinking of.

You can read some of the Dr. Dillingham stories for free at the Internet Archive:

"In the Jaws of Danger", If, November 1967.

"Getting Through University", If, August 1968.

"None but I", If, October 1969.

"Monarch", If, November-December, 1970.

The fix-up novel Prostho Plus can be "borrowed" from the Internet Archive (registration required).

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  • The story was indeed prostho plus! Thank you for your help. I'm just looking for the collection of short stories this was a part of now. A collection of sci fi shorts for kids that is, not a collection of dental scifi. Dec 29 '18 at 11:38
  • @owenwright: goodreads.com/book/show/2324166.Extraterrestrials was where I encountered it first.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jul 23 '19 at 9:20
  • In isfdb, under "Series: Dr. Dillingham" they mention Prostho Plus (1967); In the Jaws of Danger (1967); Getting Through University (1968); None But I (1969); Monarch (1970); Prostho Plus (1971) ; Ouch! (1974) Now I understand that Prostho Plus (1971) is a fix-up of the previous short stories. Not quite clear to me what Prostho Plus (1967) is, since at best only "Jaws of Danger" was published before. Moreover about "Ouch" they mention it is taken from the beginning of Prostho Plus. Now in "Jaws" there is a very loud "Ouch", by the prince whale, so that could make sense.
    – Alfred
    Nov 23 '21 at 16:35
  • @user14111 However there is no story mentioned between In the Jaws of Danger and Getting Through University, but in the timeline of ths stories it is clear that Dr. Dillingham visited a planet called Electrolus between these two stories. So were the event there never published in detail (but just very rapidly sketched in Getting Through University), or did Piers Anthony write a more detailed version in his 1971 fix-up novel ? Thanks !
    – Alfred
    Nov 23 '21 at 16:44
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    @Alfred The novel Prostho Plus can be "borrowed" from the Internet Archive; it's free, but registration is required. Link: archive.org/details/prosthoplus00anth
    – user14111
    Nov 23 '21 at 21:18

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