Dental medicine has come a long way and how?
When you go to the dentist to get a cavity filled or for a root canal you probably do not think of the Dental History. Dentistry has come a very long way from the myths, cluelessness, macabre and bloody procedures plaguing the Dental barbers of the Eleventh century.
Here are a few moments in Dental History
3000 B.C. In ancient Egypt, Hesi-Re is the first named “dentist” (greatest of the teeth). The Egyptians bind replacement teeth together with gold wire.
700—500 B.C. The Romans use bones, eggshells and oyster shells mixed with oils to cleanse the teeth.
570—950 The siwak, a primitive form of toothbrush, is used for cleaning teeth in the Middle East.
The Romans burn 300 A.D. Christian martyr St. Apollonia, the patron saint of dentistry, after having her teeth extracted.
1498 The first toothbrush is made in China of wild boar hair fixed to a bamboo or bone handle at a right angle.
1728 Pierre Fauchard publishes “Treatise on the Teeth” and elevates dentistry to a new level.
1789 George Washington is elected president of the United States with only one tooth. Contrary to the myth of wooden teeth, his dentures were made from ivory.
Horace H. Hayden and Chapin A. Harris, professors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, found 1840 The first dental college in the world, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.
1844 Dentist Horace Wells discovers nitrous oxide anesthesia.
1846 Dentist William T. G. Morton uses ether for the first time.
1871 James B. Morrison invents the first commercially available foot-powered dental engine.
1895 G. V. Black perfects the formulation for amalgam for dental fillings: 68% silver with small amounts of copper, tin and zinc. Expansion and contraction of fillings can now be controlled.
1945 Grand Rapids, Michigan are the first city to fluoridate its drinking water.
1957 Dr. John V. Borden invents the first successful air-turbine dental engine, the Airotor.
1980 The use of sealants begins.
1990 The FDA approved certain lasers for use on soft tissue that promise less pain, less noise and less fear in dental procedures.
Did you know dentistry was praticed by barbers?
Anyone fearing dental extraction should draw comfort from the thought of following description.
“On no account could the tooth be broken as it was realised that bits of the tooth remaining in the gum would cause yet more trouble in the future!
The gum, therefore, was cut down with a sharp scalpel and the tooth then rocked and shaken to loosen it while the patient’s head was firmly held between the operator’s knees!
All efforts were made to extract the teeth in the straight direction.
Repellent mouthwashes were prescribed afterwards and often wound was cauterized with a red-hot iron!”
Did you know tooth extraction and rudimentary scaling were the only form of Dental ‘Treatment’ for close to 800 years.
Barber-surgeons, fairground tooth-drawers and blacksmiths were entrusted with the authority of performing dental surgeries, and they use to perform it wearing a soaked sanguinary aprons.
How did Dental Science start its drift from general medicine?
Around mid sixteenth and early seventeenth century Dental science starting its drift from general medicine but showcasing very poor standards of treatment available. The Dental world was marred by a lot of myths and apparition; such as,
- Worms in teeth cause dental pain
- Many treatment of toothache were directed towards the outer ear, for the belief that the two are connected.
Early eighteenth century saw the common use of toothbrushes!
In the early eighteenth century small progress was made and greater care was taken of the teeth by individual, with more common use of toothbrushes and personal scaling sets. Books were written advocating dental symmetry and extraction to get to it.
In spite of these small advances, dental treatment was practised by charlatans well into the Ninteenth century, often a sideline occupation of blacksmiths and butchers, who drew teeth as entertainment at fairs- the cries were downed by the raucous music from the assistant. Dental knowledge was generally self-acquired resulting in widespread disparity. The terms of apprenticeship that existed were harsh, and the boy was enjoined to strict secrecy about what he learnt. For about 5 years he was not allowed to marry, play cards or visit taverns.
After having given a fair idea on the dental cosmos of the Eleventh to Nienteenth century let us draw our attention towards some of the tools at play-
The Greeks were probably the first to use extraction as a form of dental treatment and had devised various tools for it.These earliest illustrations are sketchy and unreliable. Pelican Extractor- was perhaps the first highly illustrated dental instrument named after a bird whose beak it resembles. There primary purpose was to create a good grip for the pull of the teeth.
a) Elevator Extractors- were principally used for incisors and canine teeth but were suitable for roots and stumps as well. One of the most popular forms was known as the ‘goat’s-foot’.
b) Toothkeys- it resembled keys of the period with a large handle and a straight cleft. The French called them ‘clef Anglais’.
2.Scaling Instruments- Small cased sets of scalers were made for personal use from the 17th century. These included anything from five to twelve different headed instruments which were interchangeable on one ornate handle.
3.Dental Mirrors- For use with scalers , and possible with toothpicks, tiny mirrors with a magnifying glass were made . Their small size, the oval frames were only about 4 cm long. Inspired delicate workmanship and they are one of the prettiest find for the collector.
4.Excavators and files- Uneven teeth were sometimes filed down to make them even, a process which lasted for about 7 days. Excavators and drills were used to excavate teeth and the cavity was filled with tin, lead and gold.
Twenty first century dentistry is leaps and bound ahead from the debauchery of the eighteenth century! Dentists have shed the sanguinary apron for a holistic one. Pains from procedures have almost disappeared to pave way for smiles, love and laughter.
Aren’t we glad we are that we are from the twenty first century. The next time if you have to visit your dentist, don’t kick up a fuss. At Dentavista, we have more than 20 specialists in Endodontics, Peridontics, Prosthodontics, Orthodontics, Surgery & Implantology with vast experience in their respective fields. Our diverse and global clientele is a testimony to the skill & ability of our doctors, which is unparalleled in the country and abroad.
We pride ourselves in the personalised care and attention given by our team of dentists. If you have any questions, feel free leave a comment below or you can connect with us on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn page.
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