The History of Dentistry

People don’t like going to the dentist. We get it. But things have improved greatly. Let’s take a look at the history of dentistry.

The very first evidence of dentistry as a practice comes from the Indus Valley Civilization. From 5000 B.C., a Sumerian text describes tooth worms as causing dental decay, an idea that was proven false in the 1700s.

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about dentistry, specifically about treating decaying teeth. The first book ever published on dentistry, was in 1530, named “The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth”.

In the 1600’s, teeth were extracted without anesthesia!

By the 1700s, dentistry had become a more defined profession.  In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon who is credited as the “Father of Modern Dentistry”, introduced the idea of dental fillings and the use of dental prosthesis, and identified that acids from sugar led to tooth decay. This was a big achievement in its time.

Forward to 1840, when the first ever dental college, called the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, was opened, leading towards more insight on dentistry.

By 1873, Colgate had mass produced the first toothpaste, and mass-produced toothbrushes followed a few years later. Even with the availability of toothpaste and toothbrushes, most Americans did not adopt good brushing habits until after World War II. This happened only when soldiers stationed abroad brought back the concept of good oral health to their homeland.

Nitrous oxide was used as an anesthetic agent for the first time in 1844 by Horace Wells, a dental surgeon in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. With the origin and development of local anesthesia, pain experience has lessened to a greater extent if not gone altogether, now. Yet here we are, many people still dreading a visit to a dentist.

So although we understand that people don’t love it, we think you’ll agree that it’s much better now than it was a few hundred years ago!

Scroll to Top