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Sunday, 5 October 2014


A 14,000-year-old infected molar that was partially cleaned with flint tools is the oldest known example of dentistry.

Dentistry started in Ancient Egypt. Whilst people used small tree branches whose ends had been frayed into soft fibers to brush their teeth, tooth doctors used sharpened flints to remove damaged molars. However once removed teeth weren't replaced.

Among the various cures the Ancient Egyptians had for toothache was splitting open the body of a live mouse, then laying it, still warm, along the patient’s gums.

False teeth made from ivory and bone held together with strips of gold were worn by the Etruscans of Northern Italy in around 700BC. They also produced partial bridgework that was strong enough to enable the user to eat.

The first dental plate made from gold was done in Greece around 250BC.

The Romans restored cavity-ridden teeth with gold crowns and utilized fixed bridgework to fix gaps from missing teeth.

Until the 18th century during the European Age of Enlightenment, cavities and other forms of tooth decay were thought to be caused by a "tooth worm.”

John Hunter, the Anglo-Scottish physician of George III, published in 1778 The Natural History of the Human Teeth, in which he established that tooth decay begins on the surface of teeth, not in the interior. He maintained that decay was more likely at those sites where food particles are lodged. His book revolutionised dentistry.

The first dental school in the world, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, was founded in Baltimore, United States in 1840. It was privately funded and staffed.

In 1855 Robert Arthur became the first dentist to use gold to fill cavities.

The American Dental Association was founded in Niagara Falls, New York on August 3, 1859 by twenty-six dentists who represented various dental societies in the United States.

Today, The American Dental Association has more than 155,000 members. Based in the American Dental Association Building in the Near North Side of Chicago, the ADA is the world's largest and oldest national dental association.

George Green, a dentist from Kalamazoo, Michigan invented the electric drill for “sawing, filing and polishing teeth.” He patented his device on January 26, 1875. Unfortunately at the time there was no available source of electric current and electric batteries were difficult to obtain and maintain, so his drill was initially of little use. In time, its development revolutionized dentistry.

One hundred years ago, half of the adults in North America were completely toothless. Today, we are at around seven to eight percent.

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