Dentistry is one of the oldest medical professions in the world, dating back to ancient times when people had to deal with “tooth worms” and other unpleasant things.
The first evidence of dentistry can be traced back to 7000 BCE, when people in the Indus Valley Civilization used bow drills to treat tooth decay.
Yes, you read that right. Bow drills. As in, the same tools used to make fire or drill holes in wood.
The first written descriptions of dentistry appeared around 5000 BCE, when a Sumerian text mentioned tooth worms as the cause of dental decay.
This idea of tooth worms persisted for centuries, until it was debunked in the 1700s.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also contributed to the development of dentistry, as they wrote about various methods of treating dental problems, such as using forceps, wires, and ointments.
They also recognized the importance of oral hygiene and aesthetics, as they used abrasive powders and mouthwashes to clean their teeth and gums.
They even used gold crowns and bridges to replace missing teeth.
The first book dedicated to dentistry was published in 1530 by a German barber-surgeon named Artzney Buchlein.
The book was titled The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth, and it covered topics such as tooth extraction, filling cavities, and treating gum disease.
It also advised people to avoid sugar, which is still good advice today.
The father of modern dentistry is widely considered to be Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon who published his influential book The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth in 1723.
The book introduced a comprehensive system for caring for and treating teeth, such as using dental fillings, dental prosthesis, and braces.
It also identified that acids from sugar were responsible for tooth decay, which was a groundbreaking discovery at the time.
Fauchard was also the first to use dental implants, which he made from carved ivory or animal teeth.
The first dental college in the world was founded in 1840 in Baltimore, Maryland. It was called the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, and it established the need for more oversight and regulation in the dental profession.
The first dental practice act was enacted in Alabama in 1841, and the American Dental Association (ADA) was formed in 1859.
The first university-affiliated dental school was founded at Harvard University in 1867.
The 19th and 20th centuries saw many innovations and advancements in dentistry, such as the use of anesthesia, X-rays, fluoride, antibiotics, and electric drills.
Dentistry also became more specialized, with different branches such as orthodontics, periodontics, endodontics, and oral surgery emerging.
It has became more accessible and affordable to the general public, thanks to improved education, technology, and insurance.
Today, dentistry is a thriving and dynamic profession that offers a wide range of services and treatments to improve oral health and quality of life.
Dentists use cutting-edge tools and techniques to diagnose and treat various dental conditions, such as tooth decay, gum disease, malocclusion, oral cancer, and more.
They perform cosmetic procedures to enhance the appearance of teeth and smile, such as whitening, veneers, implants, and more.
They also collaborate with other health professionals to provide comprehensive care for patients with complex medical needs or emergencies.