A Basic History of Dentistry

Published on October 31, 2017

The earliest known evidence of dental work goes back as far as 12,000 BC. Archeologists have found an ancient infected tooth which contains remnants of a dental cleaning with flint tools.

The first written text we know that mentions dentistry, however, is dated thousands of years later in 5000 BC. This Sumerian manuscript cites “tooth worms” as the origin of dental decay. This theory wasn’t actually proved wrong until the 1700s.

In France in the middle ages, a group of dentists gathered. They didn’t name themselves dentists though; they were called barbers, and they treated more than teeth – they also treated various medical conditions and even cut hair. Eventually, the guild evolved into two groups: barber-surgeons with education and training did the operations, while lay surgeons helped with dental cleanings and checkups.

In the 1700s, Pierre Fauchard, the Father of Modern Dentistry, wrote a book called “The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on Teeth”. It outlined the first comprehensive dental system. With this knowledge, dentistry began to multiply throughout the world, including the United States.

In 1840, the first dental college formed in Baltimore, Maryland. A few decades later, Colgate began producing toothpaste and toothbrushes. However, caring for teeth regularly didn’t really catch on in America until after World War II when U.S. soldiers brought their habits that they had learned abroad back to their hometowns.

Since then, new inventions and techniques have developed to make dentistry better than ever. Do your teeth need some attention? Just call Las Cruces Dental Associates in Las Cruces, New Mexico, at 575.523.1479 to set up an appointment with Dr. Samaniego.