Dentistry has not always been as it is today. It has taken years of study and development in order for things to reach the level of painless treatment and pearly white results we can achieve today.

Where it all began:

Dentistry has been traced back to it’s beginnings in the Indus Valley of India, where evidence of dentistry has been found and dated as far back as 7000BC. They used Bow Drills to drill teeth in an attempt to alleviate pain.


A Sumerian text from 5000 BC shows how they believed that cavities were actually caused by “tooth worm” and the holes caused by sugar and bad diet were due to evil little worms burrowing into the teeth, much like woodworm.


This picture depicts what would happen if you were unlucky enough to have tooth worm. Evidence of this theory has also been found in Ancient Egypt, Japan and China. After this, evidence of dentistry has been recorded through out the ages, with early signs of tooth replacement being seen in ancient Egypt and Rome. They used gold wire to hold loose teeth in place, or to replace missing teeth. There are even examples of teeth jewellery.


Things moved towards more modern dentistry between 1650 and 1800. French Physician Pierre Fauchard, who is widely recognised as “The Father of Modern Dentistry”  studied in great detail and even invented his own tools for performing dentistry. He is well known for his book, “The Surgeon Dentist” which was the first detailed book on the Oral Anatomy and also on the signs and symptoms of pathology, restoring teeth and gum disease. Fauchard’s text was followed by others who wished to progress in the profession of dentistry. Until the development in the field of dentistry, treatment was carried out by non professionals, usually barbers, who would not know how to treat the issue so would usually just extract teeth to stop pain for their “patients”.

After Fauchard’s book there were further studies which lead to the fast growth of dentistry. Two important books, Natural History of Human Teeth (1771 ) and Practical Treatise on the Diseases of the Teeth (1778), were published by British surgeon John Hunter.


Above are examples of the first types of dentists chair which was developed from and old chesterfield chair and had relevant parts added on to perform the job it needed to do.

From here on there was a rapid development from here to modern dentistry. In 1903 Charles Land developed the first porcelain crown, the first formal training program was developed for dental nurses in Ohio. In 1937 the first dental screw implant was placed by Alvin Strock, who used the first biocompatible metal, Vitallium. In 1938 the very first Nylon tooth brush was invented, before this people would use natural fibres such as animal hair. In 1945 the fluoridation of water began in America. In 1950 the first fluoride toothpastes were marketed.


In 1957 John Borden invented the first fast hand piece which brought about a new era of dentistry. In 1960 the development of sit down dentistry as we know it today came about and this new technique shortens treatment time and also makes the experience a bit less stressful for patients.  In 1980 Per-Ingvar Branemark describes the technique of the osseointegration of dental implants which was a massive step forward in modern dentistry. After this point we see things develop such as the introduction of home whitening, tooth coloured restorative materials and white fillings, and a lot more cosmetic work coming through.

Early dentistry should be a lesson to all of s that we are very lucky to have the technology and knowledge of today, and that a trip to the dentist to maintain the health of our teeth is not as bad as it could be!! If you wish to book a check up, or if you have any concerns with your teeth then do not hesitate to contact the practice on 01474 537 191 and we will be apy to book you in for an appointment!