The History of Dentistry

Craig Goldin DDS Feb 14, 2017

Illustration of the inner and outer layers of a toothMost people take professional dental care for granted. If the teeth are in need of a professional dental cleaning, or if an oral health problem requires prompt treatment, dental care is just a phone call away. However, that was not always the case. The wide range of general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry treatments that enhance the health and beauty of the smile have all evolved from a rich history of studying, learning, and practicing oral care techniques.

Here, we offer our patients at the Cosmetic Dentistry Institute a brief glimpse of the history of dentistry, which enables our Troy, MI patients to benefit from the advanced and high quality dental treatments that are available today.

Ancient Dentistry

Dentistry might seem like a modern field, but it is actually one of the oldest medical practices. Evidence shows that humans have been expressing an interest in oral care since ancient times. There are multiple texts from Sumerian, Egyptian, and Roman civilizations that mention dental care. These texts date all the way back to 5000 BC, when a Sumerian text notes “tooth worms” as the cause of tooth decay.

Excavations of these civilizations also point to a long dental history. Many Egyptian corpses were found with appliances on the teeth, which suggest they were attempting to straighten the teeth or align the bite. While dentistry has changed a great deal since ancient times, the thought that these civilizations put into oral care is impressive.

The Introduction of a Profession

From ancient times and beyond, the ideas regarding oral health care continued to evolve. However, it is not until around the 17th century that we begin to see the concepts and dental profession that resemble what we think of as dentistry today.

French physician Pierre Fauchard introduced the theory that sugars and starches are responsible for tooth decay. Fauchard also introduced many dental practices that are still in use today, such as dental fillings. His contributions have earned Fauchard the title of “the father of modern dentistry.” It was not long before the rest of the world began adopting Fauchard’s practices. In 1840, the first dental college was opened, and in the late 1850s, toothpaste and toothbrushes began being mass-produced in America.

Dentistry Today

Although the foundations of professional dentistry have remained the same for many years, the field has continued to see advances that make professional dental care safer and more effective for patients. Today, dentists use porcelain and tooth-colored restorations to repair dental damage without compromising the appearance of the smile. Advancements in sedation allow patients to undergo dental treatment safely and comfortably. Even the timeframe in which dental care can be completed has been improved, with many practices offering restorations in a day.

But one of the most notable advances in modern dentistry is the dental implant, which replaces both the crown and roots of a tooth to maintain the continued strength of the jawbone. With the quality of dental care that is available today, there is no need for patients to neglect the health or beauty of their smile.

Contact Us

At the Cosmetic Dentistry Institute, our experienced team offers a comprehensive range of general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry services. We continue to train and learn in the field of dentistry so that our patients can benefit from all of the latest dental advances. To learn more about our services, contact us at your earliest convenience.

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Troy, MI 48083

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