Apollonia was a deaconess who lived during the third century in Alexandria, Egypt. At that time in history, Christians like Apollonia were often persecuted. According to stories, in her later years Apollonia spent time visiting and caring for Christian prisoners. Eventually she was imprisoned as well. Her captors were cruel, and at one point during her imprisonment, they broke all her teeth. Legend has it that even with the extreme pain caused by her broken teeth, Apollonia stayed strong.
Apollonia eventually died around the year 249 in the service of her religious beliefs, and was therefore considered a martyr. The Catholic Church canonized her (made her a saint) around the year 300, and because of her peculiar association with teeth – especially broken ones – she is now known by many as the patron saint of dentistry. Those with toothaches and other dental troubles call upon Apollonia to help them through their pain.
Various churches in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and beyond contain memorials to Saint Apollonia. A public square in Rome, the Piazza Sant'Apollonia, is dedicated to her. And there's even a train station in Lisbon, Portugal, named after her. Apollonia's celebration day is February 9.
Of course, should you have the misfortune of encountering any tooth-related pain, we'd prefer that you to call on us at Southcenter Dental, rather than the patron saint of dentistry! But maybe you can send a request out to Apollonia as you make your way over to our office.