Interesting Historical Facts About Dentistry

Dental history stretches back to 7000 B.C. Yet, descriptions about tooth decay and dental treatment emerged much later, around 5000 B.C. in Sumer. In fact, the Sumerians believed that tooth worms caused dental decay. And, believe it or not, that idea prevailed for centuries. Finally, in the 1700’s it was proven false.

Major Dental Breakthroughs Occurred in the 1700s

Not only were dental worms disproved, but a French surgeon developed the first comprehensive system to care for and treat teeth. He discovered that the acids in sugar led to tooth decay. In addition, he developed the idea of dental fillings. His name was Pierre Fauchard. Through his work, he became known as “The Father of Modern Dentistry.”

Other Landmark Moments in Dental History

Other breakthrough developments included:

  • Opening of the first dental college in Baltimore in 1840 (Baltimore College of Dental Surgery)
  • The first dental practice established in 1841 in Alabama
  • The founding of the American Dental Association nearly 20 years later
  • Mass production of the first toothpaste in 1873 by Colgate along with toothbrushes a few years later
  • The first African American to earn a dental degree in 1869
  • The first female dental assistant in 1885, hired by dentist in New Orleans

Fun Facts About Dentistry

The ADEA (American Dental Education Association) provides some unusual historical facts about dental history:

  • The first dental practitioner was an Egyptian scribe, living around 2600 B.C.
  • Paul Revere became famous in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” for warning that the British were coming. However, he was also a trained dentist and studied under America’s first dentist, John Baker.
  • A simple classification for crooked teeth developed in the late 1800s is still in use today. Edward H. Angle developed it and started the first school of orthodontics in 1901.
  • The year 1896 was the first year for using a dental X-ray.

Do you have questions about dental health?

Our friendly staff at Hutto Hippo Family Dental is glad to answer your questions. We don’t believe in making patients wait. Your time is valuable, and we know that. We strive to get you in as soon as possible.

Give us a call. Our number is (512) 806-7740.