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What Was The First Ever Recorded Dental Procedure

Have you ever sat in a dentist’s chair, wondering where it all started—where dentistry began? What was the first dental procedure anyway?

Although the Sumerians and Egyptians wrote about tooth decay and toothache remedies as early as 5000 BC, the Greeks were the first to actually document dental procedures, around 500 BC. Aristotle and Hippocrates (famous for the Hippocratic oath doctors still practice today) both wrote about treating tooth decay and gum disease, and wrote about the use of forceps to extract teeth, and the use of wires to repair fractured jaws and stabilize loose teeth.

Approximately 200 years later, Celsus, a Roman medical writer, also described detailed procedures very similar to the earlier Greek procedures for stabilizing loose teeth and fractured jaws.

Starting in about 200 AD, the dental profession really began to take shape. The Etruscans wrote about making dental prosthetics like crowns and bridges out of gold, and several hundred years later, the Chinese documented use of a “silver paste” as a cavity filler.

Surprisingly, it took a long time for dentistry to become an actual profession. In fact, it took until the 1700’s when French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published a book called The Surgeon Dentist (Le Chirurgien Dentiste). The book describes all kinds of surgeries and restoration techniques, and even describes denture construction. For this reason, Fauchard is commonly credited as being the Father of Modern Dentistry. There was even a formal guild of dentists, but they were actually barbers who performed shaving, bloodletting, and—you guessed it–tooth extraction!

Dental procedures have come a long way since the 1700’s. Dentists now have amazing technology, right at their fingertips. They’re using high-tech diode lasers to detect cavities, and air abrasion instead of a dental drill to remove tooth decay. X-ray technology, from bitewing to CEPH, is state of the art because it is a type of digital tomography that takes 3D images of your teeth, with much less radiation involved. Dentists are performing surgery using microsurgical techniques involving a microscope and fiber optic lights, and computer imaging for all sorts of things from tooth decay detection to imaging of dental crowns to show you what it will look like before you get it.

Dentistry has definitely come a long way since the Egyptians and medieval France. At Sinclair Dental, we continue the advancement of dentistry by bringing you the latest and greatest in dental technology.

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