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Dentistry is known to be one of the oldest medical professions dating back to 7000  B.C. with the Indus Valley Civilisation, and with the practice being mentioned in various texts being written by Hippocrates and Aristotle. In fact, Hesy-Re was an Egyptian scribe who was recognised as the first ever dental practitioner way back in 2600 B.C. By the 1700s, dentistry became a more defined profession, which proved wrong the idea of tooth worms causing dental decay and many other further advancements in the industry. We take a look back at how dentistry has progressed over the years and compare it from the 1700s to the modern day practices that we experience today.

1700s

In 1723, Pierre Fauchard became credited as the Father of Modern Dentistry, as he defined modern practices and a comprehensive system for treating teeth. This was published through an influential book known as The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth. It was at this time that the idea of dental fillings and sugar leading to tooth decay were first explored. In 1760, John Baker, the earliest medically trained dentist in America emigrated from England in order to open a practice in the country, and preceded to train Paul Revere and Isaac Greenwood. It was also in 1789 when the first porcelain teeth were implanted into a patient by Frenchman Nicolas Dubois de Chemant.

1800s

In 1840, the first dental college opened known as the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. This then enacted the first dental practice act in 1841 in order to improve licensing in Alabama, and the American Dental Association being formed 20 years later. This showed a huge improvement in the knowledge and importance of dental hygiene around the world, but particularly in the US. The Harvard University Dental School was then founded in 1867, and this was the first university affiliated dental institution that was founded in the country. By 1873, Colgate began to mass produce the first toothpaste and the following year then began to mass produce toothbrushes too. The 1800s was a huge step in the history of dentistry, with a simple classification of crooked teeth being created which is still used today, and also the first dental X-ray being carried out in 1896.

1900s

With porcelain jacket crowns being devised in the early 1900s, local anaesthetic being produced for procedures, implants and other innovations in techniques and technology has led to the modern practices that we experience at the dentist today. Whether you head to a dentist in London or you’re interested in heading back to some of the first practices in the US, you’ll be surprised by the detailed history of dentistry. The first ever electric toothbrush for example was developed in Switzerland after World War II and the first cordless, rechargeable model then followed in 1961. The first home tooth-bleaching product was introduced in 1989 and more restorative materials were used in dental practices from 1990 to truly inaugurate an era of aesthetic dentistry.