The History of Dentistry: We’re so thankful we’ve come a long way!


The History of Dentistry: We’re thankful dentistry has come a long way!

Today’s dental patients have a lot to be thankful for! Non-invasive procedures and high-tech dental imagery, tools, and treatments help make visits to the dentist much more comfortable and efficient.  But in order to truly appreciate your next visit with Dr. E, take a look back at the history of dentistry and see just how far the dental community has come in taking care of your smile!

Ancient Times:

500 BC – Dentistry is first referenced in writings by Hippocrates and Aristotle, including extracting teeth with forceps and using wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws.

Middle Ages:

1300s – Instead of dentists, “barber surgeons” used their experience with sheers and cutting tools to extract teeth

1530 – the first book devoted to dentistry is published in Germany

18th Century:

1790 – the first known “dental foot engine” is invented by John Greenwood, who adapted a foot treadle spinning wheel into a rotating drill. Also, fashioned from a Windsor chair, the first wooden dental chair is constructed, complete with an adjustable neck rest and instrument holder

19th Century:

1825 – Commercial manufacture of porcelain teeth commences

1840 – the first dental school is founded in Baltimore, Maryland and the American Society of Dental Surgeons originates

1850 – Amalgram, or silver “fillings” are introduced

1880 – Tube toothpaste is sold

1895 – The first dental x-ray is taken by a New Orleans, Louisiana dentist

20th Century:

1905 – To the relief of patients worldwide, Novocain is introduced!

1913 – the first school devoted to training dental hygienists opens in Bridgeport, Connecticut

1938 – Todays modern nylon toothbrush is invented

1950 – The first fluoride toothpastes are introduced

1960 – Dental lasers are introduced for soft tissue procedures, along with the first electric toothbrush

1990 – Aesthetic dental era is launched with the intro and rising popularity of bleaching and veneers

2000s – Numerous laws, acts, and programs are introduced to ensure access to dental treatment and services for children and underserved populations

From the entire team at Dr. E. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we THANK YOU for entrusting us with your smile!


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