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The History of Dentistry

Dental chair and dental tools

Dentistry is one of the world’s oldest professions. While not fully appreciated, it is a fact that people have been using dentistry in one way or another throughout the ages.

Read on to learn a brief history of dentistry.

The Beginning of Dentistry

The history of dentistry can be traced as far back as 7000 BCE to the Indus Valley Civilization. Archaeologists have found bow drills that were most likely used in fixing cavities. This was perhaps one of the first attempts at administering dental procedures.

As millenniums passed, dentistry began to grow in its importance. In Ancient Greece, for instance, Aristotle and Hippocrates were already mulling over various dental procedures like tooth extractions. Likewise, the more people became aware of the importance of oral hygiene, and the more dentistry began to flourish.

During the Middle Ages, the differences between the East and the West became more pronounced. In the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization, Arabs produced scientists like Abulcasis, who wrote a treatise on extractions, treatments of dislocated jaws, and prevention of fractures. In Europe, barbers would pull your teeth out if you were suffering from a toothache.

The Evolution of Dentistry

Dentistry began to take its modern stride in the early 18th century when Pierre Fauchard, the Father of Modern Dentistry, wrote a book, The Surgeon Dentist. The book was the first one to talk about a comprehensive dentistry system.

During the 19th century, two notable events occurred in the United States; the opening of Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the world’s first dental college, and the founding of the American Dental Association (ADA), the world’s largest and oldest dental organization.

Modern Inventions

Ancient toothbrushes comprised of twigs having frayed edges which were mostly used by Babylonians and Egyptians around 3,500 BCE. The first modern toothbrush was made in 1780 in England, which was made from a cow bone handle and bristles taken from a pig’s hide.

Toothpaste was used by Egyptians even before the invention of toothbrushes. However, Colgate introduced the concept of toothpaste in tubes in 1873.

While flossing wasn’t uncommon among prehistoric people, it was actively advocated for the first time in 1815 by a Louisiana dentist.


Throughout the ages, dentistry has always been considered important in one form or another. The history of dentistry is too vast to be contained in a brief article. However, we have noted some of the more important points.

If you want to read more about dentistry or if you want to schedule an appointment with our dentists at Meadows Family Dentistry, visit our website for more information.

Posted on May 9, 2022
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