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Dentistry has be known as one of the oldest medical professions, dating back as far as 7000 B.C in the Northwestern regions of South Asia, extending from what today is Northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and Northwest India.  However it wasn’t until 5000 B.C, that there was a description related to dentistry and tooth decay were available, it was Sumerian text that described tooth decay was caused by tooth worms, an idea that was proven false in the 1700s.

By the 1700s dentistry had become more defined as a profession.  By 1723 a French surgeon named Pierre Fauchard credited as a father of modern dentistry, in addition to publishing his first influential book called The Surgeon Dentist, the book defined a comprehensive system for caring for and treating your teeth. Fauchard was the first dental professional that introduced the idea of dental fillings and the use of dental prosthesis, in addition to identifying that acids from sugar led to tooth decay.

1801- Richard Skinner writes the Treatise on the Human Teeth, the first dental book published in America. The book was written to explain the tooth structure and causes of tooth disorders and decay. The book also described how to extract teeth but cautioned people that they shouldn’t be extracting teeth unless they know the anatomy of teeth and the variety of instruments used and how to use them.

1825- Samuel Stockton begins commercial manufacturing of porcelain teeth, his company called White Dental Manufacturing Company.

1832- James Snell invented the first reclining dental chair.

1839- The American Journal of Dental Science began publishing articles.

1840- The first dental college opened up.  The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in the United States, Alabama led the way to enacting the first dental practice act in 1841.

1859- Twenty-six dentist meet in Niagara Falls, New York, and formed the American Dental Association.

1866- Lucy Beaman Hobbs graduates from the Ohio college of Dental Surgery, becoming the first female to earn a dental degree.

1867- The first University-affiliated dental institution was the Harvard University Dental School.

1869- This may surprise some of you, the first African American to earn a dental degree dates back to this year 1869.

1873- Colgate for the first time in history was mass producing toothpaste, and just a few years later started mass producing tooth brushes.

1877- The first pump-type hydraulic dental chair was introduced.

1883- The National Association of Dental Examiners was founded.

1885- The first female Dental Assistant was employed in New Orleans.

1887- The first successful industrial-type lab opened up in Boston, called Stowe & Eddy Laboratory.

1895- Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist discovers the X-Ray.

1905- Alfred Einhorn, a German chemist formulates the local anesthetic procain, which is now known as Novocain.

1913- The world’s first dental hygiene school was opened up this year in Bridgeport Connecticut.

1917- Irene Newman receives the first dental hygiene licenses in Connecticut.

1937- Alvin Strock inserts the first vitallium dental screw implant. Vitallium was the first biocompatible implant metal.

1938- The nylon toothbrush was the first toothbrush made with synthetic bristles that appeared on the market.

1939-1945 Now this may be a shock to most American… At this point in history most Americans didn’t adopt good oral hygiene until after World War 2, when the soldiers stationed abroad brought back the concepts of good oral hygiene to the United Sates. 1945 also marks another advancement in the dental world this year New York began to fluoridate the water supply in their public water system.

1948- President Harry S. Truman signs the congressional bill formally establishing the National Institute of Dental Research, in addition to federally funding dental research.

1949- Oscar Hagger, a Swiss chemist develops the first system of bonding acrylic resin to dentin.

1950– Marks the first year fluoride toothpaste was marked.

1957- Marks an era of high-speed dentistry, this introduced high-speed air-driven contra-angle hand pieces. By 1958 the first fully reclining chair was introduced.

1960- Was the first year that your dental provider sat down to perform a technique called four-handed dentistry, which improved productivity and shortened treatment times. Lasers where also developed and approved for soft tissue work, for treatments such as periodontal disease.  Also the first electric toothbrush was developed in Switzerland after World War 2 and was introduced in the United States.

1962- Rafael Bowen developed the thermoset resin complex used in most of the modern composite resin restorative material.

1989- The first commercial home bleaching product was marketed.

1997- The FDA approves the erbium YAG laser, the first for use on dentin, to treat tooth decay.

1998- The National Institute of Dental Research became the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; this was done to reflect the board research base that it has come to support.


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