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The Evolution of Dentistry

Going to the dentist has always been a scary experience for most, however you should keep this in mind, if you thought going to the dentist was bad now, imagine how it used to be. The profession of dentistry has gone through many changes, all of these changes have help patients in numerous of forms. After seeing and knowing all the changes the profession has gone through, you no longer should have to fear visiting the dentist. We invite you to read and review all the Evolutions of Dentistry.

Pre-History Dentistry


The ancient Egyptians were the first to practice dentistry. This civilization had an advance understanding of how the human body works and our teeth. Researchers have found evidence of early dentistry in the area of Mehrgarh, Pakistan; among the archaeological finds, researchers found the earliest sites with evidence of agriculture and herding in south Asia and maybe even the world.

In addition researchers found a cemetery, the Neolithic, here bodies were discovered with drill holes on molars. Through a more extended tests, it was determine that these holes were drill to remove dental caries or an oral problem.

Bow Drill

The bow drill, is an ancient tool designed to manually drill a person’s teeth or more commonly to start fires. The design can be describe as to two sticks, one with a string used to make the other stick rub on a surface to start a fire. The difference was that these sticks had a special drill bit in the tip used to penetrate someone’s teeth. Can you imagine the pain! Thankfully new methods have been develop, reduce pain and preventing infections.

Dentistry: Colonial Era (1600 – 1800)

Dentistry in the Americas

When settlers arrive in Massachusetts in the 17th century they were accompanied by numerous of people with many professions among these were the barber-surgeons. These are consider the next step in the dental profession, among some of the earliest dentist in America were the English surgeon and dentist John Baker, Robert Wooffendale, Isaac Greenwood and John Greenwood among others.

In the case of John Greenwood, he served as America’s first President, George Washington’s dentist; he performed a wide variety of dental work on our nation’s first president. He was responsible for designing Washington's famous dentures, which were made of hippopotamus tusk and not wood as it is commonly believe.
A changed that occurred during this era is the publication of the first dentistry book occurred the book appeared in 1801 and was written by Richard Cortland Skinner.

Bone Chisels

In the 18th century, dentists were using large, sharp, bulky chisels to extract your teeth. These chisels practically served as “small” sharp shovels, that were stabbed into a patients' gums, getting underneath the tooth and “facilitating” the tooth removal.

Dentistry: Industrial Era (1800 – 1900)

Dentists during Civil War Era

The 19th century was a century of many changes, innovations and volatile times, both in political views and in dentistry. In the dentistry field, dentist were active in two national dental organization: the American Dental Convention, founded in Philadelphia in 1855, and the American Dental Association, founded in New York in 1859. Here dentist were promoting education and research that contributed to the creation of many of the innovative dental technologies we used today.

During this era, dentists went through several changes and the break of the civil war not only affected the North and the South, but also impacted the dentistry profession. For example the Confederate Army had a formal dental system when compare to the Union Army, the primary function of the Southern army dentists was to examine teeth, clean teeth, fillings and extractions, among other dental procedures.

During this time dental fillings went through major changes as investigations in this field allow for better and safer procedures. No longer will dentist used tools as the ones bellowed:

Tongue Ecraseur

This was a device used to remove part of the tongue that had an infection. The dentist would cranked the device wheel, reducing the amount of blood that circulated to the tongue and then the infected area was removed with a knife.


Another painful and bizarre way to pull a teeth, with this device the dentist would slowly impale a spike into your gums, then the spike would be adjust to secure a firm grip. Once the grip is secure, the dentist pulls and snatches your tooth out of your mouth.

Dentistry: 20th & 21st Century

In the 20th century many changes continue to occur in the dentistry field. However, in the 1950’s a shortages in the dental field occurred; the break of WWII, the unavailability of materials and other political views keep.

Many American citizens suffered from a lack of dental care, causing an impact in the dentistry field. Public health journals have reported that in the 40’s the average child under the age of 10 had 7.5 cavities; compare this figure to today’s American children, who in average have 1.6 decayed teeth.

Dental societies and organizations became award of the problem and began to develop new dental techniques and procedures. We invite you to read some of the technologies that have been invited in recent years and how these technologies can help you.

If you had any oral problem, we invite you to visit our dental clinic in Los Algodones. Here our dentist don’t only care about your teeth, but also about your overall health.