Dentistry and Its Rich History

Dating as far back as 7,000 B.C., dentistry has been around for quite some time. According to a source, dentistry began with the Indus Valley Civilization. This civilization is located what is now Pakistan and northwest region of India, today.

How It All Started

As previously mentioned, the dentistry profession dates back to ancient origins. In an article, it is said that only in 5,000 B.C. “that descriptions related to dentistry and tooth decay were available.” During that ancient time, it explains that “tooth worms” were the cause of dental decay. It was later proved to be incorrect.

In another article published by the American Dental Association, during 2,600 B.C. an Egyptian named Hesy-Re was considered to be the first dentist. It is said that this is the “earliest known reference to a person identified as a dental practitioner.” The article illustrates a dentistry timeline. Another Egyptian named Ebers Papyrus wrote on various remedies concerning afflictions concerning teeth. Then in 500-300 B.C., we move to Greece. Two well-known names, Hippocrates and Aristotle were said to be writing about dentistry. Their writings included extracting teeth, stabilizing loose teeth, and gum diseases to just name a few.

Moving along to the Middle Ages, early writings found in China describes the use of “silver paste” during the year 700. In 1530, the first book of all things dentistry for that time was published in Germany. The book was called “The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth” and was written by Artzney Buchlein. The timeline snippet states that the book was intended for “barbers and surgeons” of whom “treat the mouth.”

We are now entering the 18th Century. In 1723, a French surgeon named Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged to be the “Father of Modern Dentistry.” This is said because he published a book called “The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth (Le Chirurgien Dentiste).” In his book, he describes the system to practice dentistry. It included oral anatomy, functions, and techniques to just name a few written topics.

In the 19th Century, the first dental journal publication called American Journal of Dental Science began in 1839. During the same year, an inventor named Charles Goodyear created the process for hardening rubber. This material was named “Vulcanite”. It was used to simplify the process of molding the mouth and was used as a “base for false teeth.” In 1890, an African-American woman named Ida Gray graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She was the first African-American woman to earn a dental degree.

Modern Times

During the 20th Century, many innovations in dentistry techniques and technology appeared. For instance, a chemist from Germany named Alfred Einhorn created, what we know today as, Novocain. Then in 1907, inventor William Taggart created a “lost wax” casting machine. This machine was used for casting fillings.

Dentistry has come a long way from its origins. Throughout the centuries you can see how the need for the profession became a necessity in maintaining good oral hygiene. Technology today has given dentistry many options and techniques in improving the lives of those who are experiencing diseases of the mouth and teeth.