A History of Dentistry

Posted .

Every time you visit the dentist for a checkup, you’re furthering an ages-old practice of dental care. Dentistry dates back thousands of years, although most scientific developments occurred within the last few centuries.
2600 B.C. bears the first known reference to a dental practitioner: the tomb of Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe, includes the title “the greatest of those who deal with teeth.” Other prominent historical figures such as Aristotle and Hippocrates wrote down treatments for decaying teeth.
Before the 1700s, not much is known of dentistry aside from writings of treatments for dental maladies. The main treatment to any dental malady seemed to be tooth extraction, which was performed by specialized barbers known as “lay barbers,” as dentistry was not considered a true profession at the time.
In 1723, French dentist Pierre Fauchard, credited at the Father of Modern Dentistry, published “The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth.” The book provided a comprehensive system of caring for and treating teeth. Fauchard also introduced dental fillings and the idea that acid from sugar can cause tooth decay.
Fauchard’s work allowed other dental professionals to contribute their knowledge, and dentistry took flight. John Baker is the first medically-trained dentist to practice in the U.S., and he passed his knowledge on to Paul Revere. During this time, dental x-rays came into use and the ADA (American Dental Association) formed in Niagara Falls, NY.
The 20th century witnessed the invention of Novocain as well as modern dental care products such as the nylon toothbrush, water fluoridation, tubed toothpaste and mouthwash. Laser treatment followed in 1960.
Dentistry has come a long way, especially in the last few decades, and what better way to celebrate its achievements than with a dental checkup? If you’re needing a dentist appointment in Appleton, Wisconsin, contact Tetting & Tetting, DDS at 920-739-9612.