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First Street Smiles Family Dentist

Dentist History 101

Did you know…

That dentistry skills date as far back as 7000 BC?

Researchers unearthed tools that resembled a type of drill used to remove enamel and treat rotting teeth

and gums, and this primitive device seemed to be fairly effective. In 13th Century Europe, “Barber-Surgeons” were the equivalent of today’s General Surgeons, performing anything from enemas, to leeching, to pulling teeth. By the 18th Century a more specialized professional led to the first Dentists.

Pierre Fauchard of France (1678-1761) is famous in the dentistry world as the first true innovator for dental medicine. He joined the French Navy at 15 and during his time in the service, while at sea, he was saw first hand the multiple ailments that affected the sailors, including Scurvy. This disease causes many symptoms, but the spongy, bleeding gums became a source of curiosity and interest to Pierre.

He left the Navy and set up a Dental Practice in France. Patients came from all over to see him, and he performed various dental surgeries that no-one else was doing at the time. He penned an independent version of the foundations of dentistry, Le chirurgien dentiste ou traité des dents -translation, The Surgeon-Dentist, or Treatise on the Teeth, in 1728. His expertise covered anatomy and physiology, treating periodontal disease, and decay, restorative procedures, and training guides for orthodontic surgery and tooth replacement.

In the early 1800s, dentures were introduced. Italian physician, Giuseppangelo Fonzi created fake teeth made of porcelain, with baked-in retentive pins, and Charles Stent of England invented the impression compound, which was a foundation for dental prosthesis. While the treatments and procedures were highly effective for the time, they were certainly painful. We can all thank American, Horace Wells, for it was he who applied nitrous oxide anesthesia, a safe, effective and welcome addition to dentistry.  

The world’s first school of Dentistry was The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, founded in 1840. Not to be outdone, the prestigious Harvard University’s Dental School was the first school to issue the Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree in 1867. By 1870, there were a total of nine dental schools in the United States.

Dentistry specialties, inventions, innovations, and procedures continued to develop quickly in the 20th century. More advancements were made to dental x-ray technology, maxillofacial surgery, oral pathology, pediatric dentistry, restorative work and prosthodontics. The profession of dentistry expanded so much that the need presented for assistants and support for the dentists. This welcomed the education and training for dental hygienists.

Dentistry has progressed tremendously, since those first tools were used thousands of years ago. At First Street Smiles, we take great pride in the comforts, technology and cutting edge treatments we offer and perform to give you the healthiest, most beautiful smile!