St. Apollonia lived during the 3rd century. Condemned because of her faith the torture she suffered at the hands of her persecutors was merciless. According to legend, she refused to renounce her faith in God and was punished by having all of her teeth violently pulled or knocked out. It’s for this reason that we know her today as the patron Saint of dentistry.
Images of St. Apollonia generally show her with a candle, which is relater to her death. When faced with the ultimatum to utter a blasphemy against Christ or be burned alive in a fire, St. Apollonia jumped free from captors and jumped willingly into the burning fire. Her greatest sacrifice was that of her own life.
We celebrate her feast day on February 9, and when a toothache comes along, her name is usually invoked because of the nature of her torture prior to death. Pendants bearing her image are there to remind us of the suffering she endured, but we also are reminded that she endured her suffering for the cause of Christ, who suffered and died for us all.