Dentistry Has Come a Long Way: The History of Dentistry

Nov 10, 2016 @ 06:00 AM — by Byron Wall

An illustration of a tooth in a sparkling bubbleDentistry has a long history. Early dental practices we significantly different than today's treatments, but without them, patients wouldn't enjoy the comfort and effectiveness seen in modern dental arts. Today's dental treatments can restore oral health and enhance the smile's appearance. There are a variety of restorative dentistry treatments to restore the health of damaged teeth and prevent from tooth loss. To find out how modern dentistry has improved thanks to the long history of dentistry, schedule a consultation with Albuquerque, NM dentist Byron W. Wall.

Ancient Dentistry

Some of the earliest evidence of dentistry dates back to 500 BCE during the days of the ancient Etruscan civilization. The Etruscans ruled areas of modern day central Italy and were later conquered by the Romans. Dental bridges and dentures made of gold have been found in ancient Etruscan tombs; these are some of the earliest dental restorations ever found. After the Romans conquered the Etruscans, they adopted many Etruscan dental practices, including the use of dental bridges and dentures.

Dentistry in the Middle Ages

Dentistry reached a standstill by the Middle Ages. At this time, barber surgeons performed dental work. Barber surgeons were barbers and surgeons. Barbers had many of the tools, namely razors, needed to make. However, surgical and dental treatments were rudimentary and used as a last resort. Further, tooth extractions were the extent of dental treatment.

The Beginnings of Modern Dentistry

Dentistry slowly made progress, and by 1700, it began to resemble what we think of as dentistry today. This is largely thanks to the work of French surgeon Pierre Fauchard, who helped to transform dentistry into it's own discipline. Fauchard helped shape dentistry with the release of the first comprehensive medical text for dental treatment called The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on the Teeth.

In this book, released in 1728, Fauchard provided detailed accounts of oral diseases and methods to treat and diagnose oral ailments. Dental practices and techniques continued to advance, but pain relief was limited, with only alcohol and opium available. Fortunately, anesthesia was discovered and proven effective by dentist William Morton in 1846, effectively transforming the dental experience for patients.

Truly Modern Dentistry

Dentistry become truly modern in the 1900s as dental tools and techniques advanced, allowing dentists to focus on making treatments more cosmetically pleasing. The advancement of tooth-colored restorations and cosmetic treatments was made possible with the discovery of a tooth-colored resin in 1949 by Swiss chemist Oskar Hagger. In the 1990s, tooth-colored composite resins became available, allowing cosmetic treatments, like dental bonding, to be performed.

Enjoy the Benefits of Modern Dentistry

Thanks to the advancements made throughout the history of dentistry, patients can enjoy cosmetically pleasing treatments in comfort. Advanced sedation methods and improved techniques, like the use of dental lasers, allow patients to enjoy pain-free dental treatment. Tooth-colored restorations create a restored, yet natural looking smile.

To enjoy the benefits of modern dental treatments, and to discover which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wall today.

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