The Fascinating History of Dentistry

Dr. Matthew Hannan | My Dental Advocate
Antique dentist office | history of dentistry | my dental advocate

Dental roots run deep in the mouth; they also run deep historically, dating back thousands of years.

This extended period has allowed innovation and technological advances to improve the dental profession radically.

Let’s take a closer look at the dental profession’s history, how it impacts our oral health, and what it means for the future of dental care.

Recommended Reading: Top 5 Brushing Habits to Break in 2022

Ancient Origins

  • The first descriptions related to dentistry and tooth decay occurred in 5000 B.C.
  • Hesy-Re, an Egyptian, is identified as the first dental practitioner in 2600 B.C.
  • Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about dentistry, specifically tooth decay, in 500 B.C.
  • Celsus, a Roman, writes about stabilizing teeth and managing pain in 100 B.C.
  • In 200 A.D., The Etruscans practiced dental prosthetics using gold crowns.

Beginnings of Dentistry

  • A medical text in China mentions “silver paste,” a type of amalgam, in 700 A.D.
  • The French Guild of Barbers performed routine hygienic services in 1210.
  • In 1400, royal decrees in France prohibited lay barbers from practicing.
  • The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth (by Artney Buchlein) was published in Germany in 1530.
  • In 1575, France Ambrose Pare published practical information and instructions about dentistry, such as tooth extractions and treating tooth decay and jaw fractures.

Development of Dentistry

  • In 1723, Pierre Fauchard, a French surgeon, was credited as the Father of Modern Dentistry.
  • In 1746, Claude Mouton described a gold crown and post to be retained in the root canal. He also recommends white enameling for gold crowns for aesthetics.
  • In 1760, John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrated from England and set up practice.
  • In 1770, Paul Revere placed advertisements in a Boston newspaper offering his services as a dentist.
  • John Greenwood constructed the first known dental foot engine drill in 1790.

Advances in Dentistry

  • In 1801, Richard C. Skinner published the first dental book in America.
  • In 1840, the first dental college (Baltimore College of Dental Surgery) opened.
  • The American Dental Association was formed in 1859.
  • In 1869, the first African American earned a dental degree.
  • By 1873, Colgate had mass-produced the first toothpaste, and mass-produced toothbrushes came a few years later.

Innovations in Dentistry

  • In 1905, Alfred Einhorn, a German chemist, formulated the local anesthetic Novocaine.
  • In 1930, The American Board of Orthodontics, the world’s first dental specialty board, was founded.
  • The nylon toothbrush, made from synthetic bristles, appeared on the market in 1938.
  • In 1950, the first fluoride toothpaste was sold.
  • In 1989, the first commercial home tooth-bleaching product was sold.

Future of Dentistry

  • Artificial Intelligence is now being used to evaluate x-ray images and dental pictures to scan for tooth decay and other abnormalities.
  • Cavity remineralization (healing) products are becoming more prevalent and can heal decay without drilling.
  • Lasers are being used to remove tooth decay to avoid drilling.
  • Same-day crowns are created using a CAD/CAM in-office unit.
  • Implant placement can be computer-assisted using multiple cameras and sensors.

Common Questions

loader-image

As of 2021, among the 201,927 dentists working in dentistry, 35.9% are female.

As of 2021, 17.6% are under age 35, 24.6% are ages 35-44. 21.8% are ages 45-54, 20.2% are ages 55-64, and 15.9% are age 65 and older.

In 2021, 70.2% of U.S. dentists were White, 18.0% were Asian, 5.9% were Hispanic, 3.8% were Black, and 2.2% were from other races.

In 2021, the average age of retirement among U.S. dentists was 68.2.

Need Dental Advice? Ask Dr. Hannan!

My Experience & Expertise

This history of dentistry shows how far dentistry has come as a profession and how it has developed.

Today, we live in a technologically advanced time spilling over into the dental work.

These advances minimize surgical errors, improve success rates and decrease postoperative pain. The following 50 years will advance the dental community and improve oral health.

Need a second opinion? We can help! Learn more. Knowledge is power when cultivating healthy dental habits. The more informed you are, the better positioned you’ll be to prevent avoidable and potentially costly dental procedures for you and your family. Watch for future blog posts, where we’ll continue sharing important information, product reviews and practical advice!


Sources

author avatar
Dr. Advocate Founder/Owner
Dr. Matthew Hannan, also known as “Dr. Advocate,” is a board-certified dentist on a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He attended Baylor University before completing dental school at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. He now lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and 4 kids. Dr. Hannan believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.

About the Author

Dr. Matthew Hannan, also known as “Dr. Advocate,” is a board-certified dentist on a mission to provide accurate dental patient education. He attended Baylor University before completing dental school at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. He now lives in Arizona with his beautiful wife and 4 kids. Dr. Hannan believes everyone should access easy-to-read dental resources with relevant, up-to-date dental research and insight to improve their oral health.

Matt Hannan, DDS Signature | My Dental Advocate

Connect with Dr. Hannan!

Gain Clarity with Our FREE Second Opinion Guide

Unsure About Your Dental Diagnosis?

Receive clear, expert second opinions online within 48 hours. Start today!

5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
“My five-year-old son was experiencing severe pain in his mouth and jaw region that required me to pull him from school and take him to his on-call doctor. We didn’t receive any official answers from his doctor visit but My Dental Advocate service was so helpful! Utilizing this service gave me peace of mind as a mother.”
(Received Clarity)
Krista
Arizona
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
“I reached out to My Dental Advocate for a second opinion after finding them online. They quickly responded with a full report informing me that they agreed with the findings and even explained why it needed to be extracted. I highly recommend them for an online second opinion!”
(Saved $3000)
Rita
Texas
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
5 star rating
“I was on an extended trip traveling for work, and went to a corporate dental office that I was unfamiliar with. Upon performing an x-ray, they identified a few inclusions and were pressing me to schedule. With My Dental Advocate, I was able to get a second opinion and feel more confident about the urgency of treatment.”
(Received Clarity)
Michael
California

Product Reviews

Our 250+ dental product reviews (and counting), curated by an experienced dentist, are the most comprehensive online.

Toothbrush Genie

State-of-the-art chatbot designed to help you discover your perfect toothbrush in just a few simple steps!

Cavity Risk Assessment

Cutting-edge digital tool designed to evaluate your individual cavity risk based on your responses to a series of questions.

Gum Disease Assessment

Discover your gum disease risk with our quick and engaging 6-question assessment!

Product Reviews
Blog Posts
Money Saved

Easiest Second Opinion, Ever!

  • Confidently upload x-rays (plus any other documents) to a board-certified dentist via HIPAA-secure email.
  • Within 48 hours, you receive an expert second opinion affirming your current treatment plan or recommending alternative treatment options.