Dentistry has been around almost as long as humanity itself. Although the father of modern dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, didn’t publish his industry-changing dental specialty book until 1723, the beginnings of dentistry are as ancient as the civilizations that practiced it. In fact, evidence for the practice of dentistry can be dated as far back as 5000 BC with an ancient Sumerian text that describes tooth worms as being responsible for decay.
As humanity continued to evolve, so did dentistry. In the Middle Ages (500-1575) dentistry became known as a profession. As a result of this, dental training also developed. The profession of dentistry continued to develop during the 18th and 19th centuries with new dental techniques and different dental materials. During the 20th century, dentistry underwent several technological advancements that has led to the dentistry we know today. Here are three advancements of modern dentistry:
Dental techniques have come a long way from those used towards the beginning of dentistry. Although there have been many advances in modern dentistry, there are a few key techniques that have had a large impact on dentistry as we know it. The first was the introduction of implant dentistry in 1937. At that time, a dental implant screw made from Vitallium was successfully placed in a patient. While this technique spurred forth the world of implant dentistry, modern dental implants have changed quite a bit since this first implant.
Along with dental implants, another technique that became popular in modern dentistry was the acid and etch technique used to increase the adherence of acrylic fillings to tooth enamel. This technique was first discussed in 1955 and implemented thereafter. Another technique that has affected modern dentistry was the introduction of tooth-colored dental restorations in 1990 that spurred on the development of cosmetic dentistry.
The introduction of dental products used for daily dental hygiene is another major advancement of modern dentistry. In the past, there has been historical evidence to suggest people used chewing sticks and horse hair, as well as toothpaste made from various ingredients to clean their teeth. Until somewhat recently, daily dental care was not regularly practiced. However towards the end of the 19th century and into the 20th century, this began to change. During this time, dental floss, nylon toothbrushes with synthetic bristles, and fluoridated minty toothpaste were developed and marketed for dental health. Soon after, the practice of brushing twice a day became increasingly popular.
Last, but certainly not least, patient experience has advanced a great deal with modern dentistry. Dental anesthesia was introduced and further developed in the 19th century. Towards the beginning of the 20th century, dental anesthetic was also introduced for use during dental procedures. Finally, the dental drill and reclining dental chairs were also introduced in the 20th century.
Overall, the advancement of techniques, products, and experience has resulted in the modern dentistry we are familiar with today. Luckily, as a result of these advancements, modern dentistry has evolved to a level that offers more effective and comfortable dental care.
Dr. Sachdeva Pushpa is a Nairobi dentist who is constantly upgrading her skills by attending hands-on courses internationally. This allows her to provide her patients with the latest dental techniques and technology. In addition to restorative dental treatments, she works to improve the surrounding soft tissues through lip augmentation, reduction of peri-oral lines, narrowing of square jaws, Fillers and Facial Thread lifting. She also uses Botox to reduce the occurrence of Bruxism and to reduce “gummy smiles”.