An Overview of Dental History

As a cosmetic dentist in Farmington Hills, Michigan, Dr. Aziza Askari knows that dentistry has come a long way. Evidence from as far back as 7000 BC shows traces of dental surgery performed with rudimentary but effective tools. For instance, teeth found in an ancient graveyard in Pakistan show that members of the Indus Valley Civilization drilled nearly perfect holes into hard-to-reach back molars. Flint drill tips were also found at the site. This week, Dr. Askari highlights the major milestones of dentistry throughout human history.

Ancient Origins of Dentistry

The earliest mention of dentistry in recorded history derives from ancient Egypt. In what is known as the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, the mysterious author detailed directions for treating wounds around the mouth but unfortunately made no mention of restoring teeth that were lost due to such inflictions. An Egyptian scribe named Hesy-Re (d. 2600 BC) was the first person to be referred to as a dental practitioner. On his tomb, an inscription reads “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.” During the last 2,000 years of the BC era, literature began to appear in Egypt, Greece, and Rome that detailed diseases of the teeth, methods of extraction, and procedures to stabilize loose teeth and jaw fractures.

Modern Dentistry

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, dental understanding began to blossom. At first, only monks practiced dentistry, as well as surgery and medicine, because they were the most educated people of the time. After a series of Papal edicts banned monks from this practice in the 1400s, barbers took up the task of caring for teeth. They learned from the monks during their many visits to the monasteries to shave the monks’ heads, and sharp barbers’ tools proved useful in their new endeavors. The first book dedicated exclusively to the science of dentistry was published in 1530 in Germany. It was titled The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth and written by Artzney Buchlein.

During the next few hundred years, dentistry evolved into its own respectable profession, and in 1859, 26 American dentists met in Niagara Falls, New York to form the American Dental Association.

In the tradition of dentistry’s evolution, Comfort Dental Spa is dedicated to providing you with advanced care and excellent service.