Saint Apollonia is a Christian martyr and the patron saint of dentists and those suffering from toothaches or other oral afflictions. She is said to have lived in Alexandria, Egypt during the 3rd century AD, during a time of intense persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. Apollonia was an elderly Christian deaconess living in Alexandria during the persecutions of the Emperor Decius.
According to legend, Apollonia was arrested and tortured for her faith by being forced to watch as her fellow Christian martyrs were brutally killed. She was then threatened with having all of her teeth pulled out unless she renounced her belief in Christianity. Rather than giving in to the demands of her oppressors, Apollonia chose to suffer the same fate as her fellow believers and had all of her teeth pulled out. In light of her brutal torture she was ultimately burned at the stake for her faith.
Despite the severe nature of her torture and death, Saint Apollonia's legacy has been one of hope and healing. Her name is derived from the Greek deity Apollo, who was the god of healing. This is one of the reasons that she is the patron saint of dentists, as she is seen as a symbol of hope for those suffering from dental pain. She is often depicted holding a tooth or a pair of pincers, and her feast day is celebrated on February 9th.
Her name is sometimes misspelled as “Apolline” or “Apollinaris.” She is also one of the few saints whose martyrdom is depicted in art, with many paintings and sculptures of her being made throughout the centuries.
Her canonization date is unknown, as it's not clear when she was officially recognized as a saint. Her death date is also not known but is believed to have occurred around 249 AD.
As the patron saint of dentistry, Saint Apollonia is often invoked by those suffering from toothaches or other oral problems, and her image can be found in many dental offices and clinics. Additionally, her feast day is also celebrated in many Catholic and Orthodox churches, and is a day of special devotion for many Christians around the world.
An interesting fact is that, there's another Saint Apollonia, an Abbess of Rome, who is also venerated and whose feast day is celebrated on August 9th.