One of the biggest reasons to be glad you were born in the modern age has to be advanced dentistry. A quick look at dentistry history shows that treatments used to be pretty grim. How would you like the dentist to use a bow drill for your next filling?
Everyone gets a toothache now and then, and that’s been the same since human life began. Archaeologists have found evidence that we’ve been drilling and scraping at our teeth for thousands of years.
Let’s take a quick look at the history of dentistry. You’ll see why we’re so fortunate to visit 21st-century dentists!
History of Dentistry Timeline
There is evidence of dentistry dating back thousands of years from the Indus valley civilization in Pakistan. They were the first people to use bow drills, although we don’t know how they filled dental cavities. Next came an ancient Slovenian people who used beeswax to fill their caries.
It took a long time for us to understand tooth decay. The ancient Sumerians believed that tooth worms caused cavities. That belief continued until the 1700s!
The ancient Mayan civilization drilled holes in their front teeth on purpose. This was to place gems in them, such as jade and quartz.
The Etruscans were an ancient people who lived in Italy. They play a fascinating role in the history of dentistry.
They were the first to develop bridges in about 700BC. This is the first appearance of gold in dentistry history – a material dentists continue to use to this day.
A Brief History of Dentistry in Modern Times
Fast forward to the 1700s, and the history of dentistry starts to look more familiar. Pierre Fauchard published the book The Surgeon Dentist. This was the first book to look in detail at how the mouth works, and it included a range of dental treatments.
Over the next 150 years came the invention of the dental drill and dental chair. Things took a major step forward in 1840 when Horace Wells discovered the first dental anesthetic – nitrous oxide. By the end of the century, toothpaste was becoming popular, and dentists understood that microbes cause tooth decay.
In 1895, G. V. Black standardized how cavities are prepared and how to make silver fillings. The dental crown was invented 8 years later by Charles Land, and white fillings followed in 1955.
The Age of Modern Dentistry
All modern dental techniques are built on the back of discoveries made through dentistry’s long and painful history. Now dentistry has divided into two main groups – restorative and cosmetic.
Advances in dentistry are not limited to what happens in the chair. Dentists now have to use a range of strategies to attract new clients. Internet marketing can help them reach new customers with the latest info on groundbreaking treatments they need to have.
Dentistry History – We’ve Come a Long Way
A quick look at dentistry history shows just how far we’ve come. From gruesome fillings with no anesthetic to early gold bridges, we can all be glad we live in the modern age. You can be sure that the advances will keep on coming in the years ahead.
If you’ve enjoyed this look at the history of dentistry, why not check out our Beauty & Fashion section for more great insights?