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A History of Dental Care

A Kirkland dentist shares a history of dentistry and dental careWith over 20 years in the dental industry, our team at Kirkland Family Dentistry has seen quite a few technological advances in the care of your teeth. It has taken several centuries for dentistry to get to the point it is at today.

Here is a look at some of the odd practices dentists used to do, and other unique facts about dentistry throughout time.

  1. The first known reference to a dental practitioner is on a tomb from Ancient Egypt – dated to around 2600 B.C. The man who cared for teeth was also a physician and a scribe. Talk about filling many different roles!
  2. Around 400 B.C., two well-known philosophers wrote about tooth extractions using forceps and treated decayed teeth and gums. Whoever thought Aristotle and Hippocrates would also explore the mouth?
  3. Gold crowns date back to 166 A.D and an early version of the silver filling used today dates back to 700 A.D.
  4. Barbers used to perform teeth extractions, as well as shaving. Who wouldn’t want their barber to cut their hair, shave their beard and then pull their tooth?
  5. The 1500’s produced several reference books solely on dentistry: one from Germany and another from France. These were the first books dedicated to the practice of dentistry.
  6. White enameling on fake teeth and crowns was first introduced in 1746. It seems that vanity and having good-looking teeth dates back more than 250 years!
  7. Paul Revere did more than alert the Americans that the British Troops were on their way – he was also a dentist. Old newspapers from 1768 carry advertisements for his professional dentistry services.
  8. Vulcanite dentures were first introduced in 1839 and riddled with legal battles for almost a quarter of a century. They replaced the often ill-fitting and uncomfortable metal and bone dentures warn previously.
  9. Before 1840, you could not receive a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. Most dentists had little to no formal education – training under a dentist for a number of years to learn the art of caring for teeth.
  10. Before the 1880’s, toothpaste only came in a liquid or powder form and was often produced by individual dentists. The modern toothpaste tube revolutionized production around this time.
  11. Most Americans didn’t brush their teeth until after WWII. The army had a strict policy on regular tooth brushing that the soldiers brought home after the war. Talk about bad breath!

Dentistry has been around a lot long than most people would have originally thought – from wire brackets for stabilizing teeth, to root canals and extractions without painkillers, our fore-fathers sure had it a lot harder when it came to treating dental maladies.

Dr. Benjamin Greene
Dr. Greene has been providing high-quality dental care to Kirkland residents for over 25 years. The Kirkland area is Dr. Greene’s home. He grew up in Bellevue and graduated from the University of Washington before attending dental school in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his D.D.S. at Case Western Reserve University and then returned to practice dentistry in Kirkland, where he has become part of the community.
Dr. Benjamin Greene
Dr. Benjamin Greene

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