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Historical milestones in dentistry

Historical review of the most important dates in dentistry 

Historical milestones in dentistry
Talking about milestones in any activity is a must and does not always coincide with the opinion of everyone, not even the majority. It is natural to reward the closest facts, those that most directly affect us today and the appearance of the first computer in the middle of the 20th century is valued more than the invention of the wheel 3,500 years ago or the air conditioning invented just at the beginning of the 20th century more than the discovery of fire 800,000 years ago. The milestones seem to us to be more grandiose when they are close in time.

Dentistry is no stranger to this difficult delimitation of the most remarkable events in the evolution of dental technology. However, in the following lines, an attempt is made to carry out a chronological selection according to how many events related to the oral have occurred over the centuries.

  • 7000 B.C. Pakistani stone age cultures in Baluchistan ("Indo Culture") use arched drills with milling cutters of flint to remove decayed tooth substance.
  • 5000 BC Iraq. A Sumerian text describes " tooth worms" as the cause of tooth decay. This may be the first observation of the dental pulp.
  • 2700 B.C. China Acupuncture is used to treat dental pain.
  • 2660 BC Egypt The tomb of the Third Dynasty of Hesy-Ra, the described as "the largest of those who deal with teeth and the doctors", and the graves of three other dental specialists of the Fifth Dynasty, all in Saqqara, they reveal early specialization.
  • 1750 BC Mesopotamia The Law 200 of the famous Code of Hammurabi states that "if anyone breaks the tooth of an equal, his tooth is also broken".
  • 1700-1550 BC Egypt The Ebers Papyrus, a text from 21 meters long, extensively describes the knowledge and treatments for the dental diseases of the time. 
  • 700 BC Myanmar Teeth found in Halin area show sheet fillings of gold, probably made for cultural reasons or ceremonial.
  • 600 BC - 400 AD Italy/Europe The Etruscans and Romans became experts in restorative dentistry by making gold crowns and fixed bridges. Complete and partial dentures are not uncommon. 
  • 500 BC China/India Toothpaste recipes are described.
  • 450 BC India Invented the process of crystallizing sugar cane juice.
  • 450 BC Italy Roman law forbids the placing of gold in tombs, except for the gold of teeth. The bones, shells of egg and oyster shells mixed with honey are used to clean the teeth. Aristocrats employ slaves to clean their teeth.
  • 460-322 BC Greece The philosopher and scientist Hippocrates describes saliva and nutrition as the factors causing tooth decay, contradicting the predominant belief in that the tooth worms were responsible. Aristotle writes about dentistry, including the pattern of tooth eruption, treatment of caries and periodontal disease, forceps tooth extraction, and the use of metal wires to stabilize teeth and fractures of the jaw. However, he mistakenly believes that beings men, humans, sheep, goats, and pigs have more teeth than the females.
  • 50-25 BC Italy The Roman medical writer Aulus Cornelius Celsius summarizes contemporary medical and writes about oral hygiene, stabilization of missing teeth, treatment of dental pain, and treatment of tooth replacement. It forms the necessary cares after the extraction and describes the method of repositioning jaw dislocations, which is still used today. 174 BC Italy Galen, the Emperor's personal physician Marcos Aurelio compiles all the knowledge and his own research in relation to medicine, including oral diseases He says "soon there will be more mediums The body parts and each disease will have its own doctor." 
  • 650 India Indian author Vagbhata describes 75 diseases oral.
  • 500-1000 Europe During the Middle Ages, medicine, surgery, and dentistry were generally practiced by monks, those with the best education at the time. While I know has lost consciousness of the Roman and Greek era, new folk medicine is emerging with many practices dubious, like sangria.
  • 963-1013 Spain Abù I-Qàsim (Abulcasis), a surgeon Spanish Arabic recovers the world's dental knowledge Greco-Roman and editions of his work are widely circulated in Europe, with some fine illustrations of dental instruments for scaling, pulp characterization, or extraction.
  • 980-1037 Iran/Uzbekistan The physician and philosopher Ibn Sinà, also known as Avicenna, describes the medical knowledge of the time including diseases and their treatment. His writings influenced the thinking of European doctors during the Age Medium.
  • 1258 France The Barbers' Guild is established. The Barbers finally evolve into two groups: those who are educated and trained to perform surgical operations and barber-surgeons, who perform services of more routine hygiene, including shaving, bleeding, and the extraction of the tooth.
  • 1280 China Medicine is divided into 13 specialties including dentistry.
  • 1400 France A series of royal decrees prohibit barbers practice all surgical procedures except bleeding, cupping, leeching, and extract teeth
  • 1498 China The first toothbrush with bristles is described.
  • 1500 Caribbean The first sugar cane plantations are established in the new colonies, particularly in The Canary Islands and the West Indies.
  • 1530 Germany The first book entirely dedicated to dentistry is published, The Little Medical Book of all Diseases and Anomalies of the teeth. Includes topics Practices such as oral hygiene, tooth extraction, the grinding of the tooth, and the placement of gold fillings. It is becoming the reference text for more than 200 years. The last edition was published in 1756
  • 1533-1603 England Queen Elizabeth I filled the gaps in your teeth to improve your appearance in public.
  • 1575 France Ambroise Paré, known as the Father of Surgery, publishes his Complete Works, which includes practical information about surgery, such as tooth extraction, treatment of caries, and jaw fractures. He also performs the first cleft lip surgery.
  • 1664 onwards UK/Italy/Netherlands In Oxford and London in the new Royal Society, the innervation of the teeth and jaw for Willis, while they go Leeuenhoek describes the microscopic appearance of the teeth and agents living in dental calculus and Malpighi and others describe the capillaries, bringing true science to dentistry. Van Leeuwenhoek identifies some "worms of the tooth" as really cheese mites.
  • 1685 UK Charles Allen publishes his book The Operator of which will go through three editions and incorporate the recent findings and his own experience in the dental field, laying the scientific foundations of dentistry in the UK
  • 1687 France King Louis XIV undergoes an extraction of an upper molar resulting in a fractured jaw and perforation of the maxillary sinus. Subsequent infection and other treatments leave the king without upper teeth for the rest of his life.
  • 1690 United States Sugar cane cultivation begins.
  • 1728 France The Dentist Pierre Fauchard, considered the father of modern dentistry, describes in his book Le Chirurgien Dentiste, ou Traité des Dents un comprehensive system for practice of dentistry, including the basic oral anatomy and function, operational and restoration techniques, and the construction of the teeth. It also opposes the contemporary belief in tooth worms as the cause of tooth decay. His work will be translated into English only in 1946.
  • 1746 France Claude Mouton describes a gold crown with a post to be retained in the root canal.
  • 1756 Germany Philipp Pfaff, the dentist to the King of Prussia Federico II, introduces from Paris the use of wax and plaster to make an impression. This greatly improves the placement of dentures. Like Pierre Fauchard, he sets standards for dental care and practices to new levels of dentistry.
  • 1760 onwards France/UK/USA Dentists begin to make school visits and are designated to orphanages and public health institutions. They are listed as "dentist" or "dentist" in public records and directories.
  • 1768 UK Thomas Berdmore points to the clear relationship between sugar, eating sweet things, and tooth decay.
  • 1771 UK John Hunter's book, Natural History of the Human Tooth H, along with A Practical Treatise on the Diseases of the Tooth. An experiment appears (incorrectly) to validate the dental transplant. This practice, supported by Fauchard, had been condemned by Allen in 1685 as a technique to "undress a Saint for dress another" and by Pfaff in 1756 and Berdmore in 1768 by the danger of disease transmission, especially venereal. 
  • 1776 United States In one of the first known cases of post-mortem forensic dentistry, Paul Revere, a dentist and patriot of the War of Independence, confirms the death of his friend by identifying the bridge he had built for him.
  • 1776 UK Joseph Priestley synthesizes nitrous oxide, formerly known as laughing gas. From 1840 its narcotic properties and pain reducers are used particularly by dentists and surgeons.
  • 1780 UK William Addis begins the almost mass production of the modern toothbrush.
  • 1783 UK Robert Woofendale relates sugar consumption to tooth decay in the second dentition of children.
  • 1790 United States One of George Washington's dentists, John Greenwood, builds the first known standing dental equipment, adapting the spinning wheel foot of his mother's machine to spin a drill. 
  • 1790 United States Josiah Flagg, a dentist, builds the first chair made specifically for patients dental.
  • 1791 France Nicolas Dubois de Chemant receives the first patent for ceramic teeth.
  • 1795 United States Samuel Thomas von Soemmering reports an increase in lip cancer in smokers of pipe.
  • 1815 United States Levi Spear Parmly, a dentist from New Orleans is credited as the inventor of modern dental floss (with natural silk), although they have been found in some prehistoric sites. 
  • 1815 UK Teeth from the 50,000 soldiers killed in the battle of Waterloo is extracted and used to make dentures, known like "Waterloo teeth." While the use of ceramic teeth and other materials start to be very common, extracted human teeth are used until 1860 to make dentures.
  • 1817-21 UK/USA Levi Lanza Parmly, walking away from traditional learning, announces its Dental Institution in London for men and women who wish to train as young dentists.
  • 1832 United States James Snell invents the first dental recliner.
  • 1839 United States The American Journal of Dental Science comes out as the first dental magazine in the world. 
  • 1839 United States Based on a recent German discovery, Charles Goodyear develops the vulcanized rubber, a material that allows for cheaper and better fitting prostheses. This material was replaced by the acrylic resin in the 20th century.
  • 1839 United States The first dental school, the Baltimore School of Dental Surgery, opens its doors. Other dental schools follow in Berlin in 1855, London in 1858, Paris in 1880, Geneva in 1881, Stockholm in 1888, and Vienna in 1890.
  • 1840 United States The American Society of Dental Surgeons, the first dental society.  
  • 1841 UK John Tomes publishes the principles of anatomical design for forceps. Surgical instruments based on this concept are still in use today.
  • 1846 France/USA The folding tube, made of lead or tin, was invented in both countries. It is only in 1896 that the sale of toothpaste in folding tubes begins in the United States and Germany.
  • 1847 Hungary Ignaz Semmelweiss identifies the risk of cross-infection between patients. 
  • 1866 United States Lucy Beaman Hobbs graduate of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery, becomes the first woman to the world in getting a diploma in dentistry.
  • 1870 Japan The practice of blackening the teeth of women in the class sign of marital fidelity and practiced since the 4th century BC, it's forbidden. Some protection against caries was obtained from this technique. 
  • 1872 United States The first dental pedal engine, manufactured by James B. Morrison, sold at a meeting in Binghamton, New York. The cheap tool Morrison's machining uses dental burs with sufficient speed to cut enamel and dentin, soft and quickly, revolutionizing the practice of dentistry.
  • 1873 United States Colgate produces jarred toothpaste in a massive way.
  • 1874 UK The British Government, under its Prime Minister Gladstone, decides to abolish taxes on sugar to make it more affordable for the whole population
  • 1875 United States The first electric dental lathe is patented by George Green
  • 1884 Austria The first local anesthetic used in dentistry, cocaine, is introduced by ophthalmologist Carl Koller.
  • 1890 Germany The American scientist Willoughby Miller establishes the microbiological basis of dental caries and starts the discussion of what will be the "focal infection". describing the bacteria in the dental pulp. The belief in dental sources of infection responsible for diseases in other parts of the body reaches peak levels in the decade from 1920, but now it's the subject of rational research, particularly in association with the disease periodontal.
  • 1895 UK Lilian Lindsay becomes the first woman to obtain her license to practice as a British (LDS).
  • 1896 Germany/USA Wilhelm Roentgen, physicist, discovered the X-rays. The first x-ray images of jawbone teeth are taken in Germany three months later. In the United States, C. Edmond Kells takes X-rays with x-rays eight months later. He develops recurrent cancer in fingers and hands due to the constant radiation exposure. After suffering 42 operations that will end with the amputation of the hand, he decides to commit suicide in 1928.
  • 1898 United States Johnson & Johnson is the first company to patent dental floss.
  • 1899 United States Edward Angle classifies the different types of malocclusions. Their classification still follows using.
  • 1900 France The FDI World Dental Federation is born in Paris, created by French dentist Charles Godon.
  • 1901 France The FDI Public Dental Hygiene Commission is established.
  • 1903 United States Charles Land produces the porcelain crown jacket.
  • 1905 Germany Alfred Einhorn, chemist, formulates the local anesthetic procaine, later marketed as Novocaine and commonly used in dentistry
  • 1905 United States Irene Newman becomes the first dental hygienist and is committed to promoting oral health in children.
  • 1908 United States G.V. Black publishes his impressive two-volume work on Operator Dentistry, work that will be the essential clinical reference text for over 50 years. Black then developed the techniques of standardized procedures and instruments, develops the amalgamation technique, and is a pioneer in the use of visual aids in the teaching of dentistry.
  • 1910 United States The first formal program for teaching dental nurses is established. The program is interrupted in 1914, mainly due to the opposition from dentists
  • 1914 United States Dental hygienists introduced by the hand of Dr. Fones. The first-class graduates in Bridgeport Connecticut.
  • 1919 United States/Germany The Ritter company presents a unit dental drill, pressurized water, air, characterization, and light. You can read it to follow other companies and the standards for tooth removal are established.
  • 1920 France The cable-guided Doriot arm, developed by Parisian dentist Constant Doriot, becomes in the standard to transfer the power of the electric motor to the drill and burr. It was complemented by the high speed with air rotor by Walsh and Borden in 1957 and was replaced by Siemens electric micromotors in 1965
  • 1921 New Zealand The formation of those who will become Dental Therapists in New Zealand.
  • 1926 United States William J. Gies publishes an article on the state of dental education in the United States, criticizing the poor standards and income criteria for an academic and university dental equation.
  • 1926 United States During the FDI Annual Congress in Philadelphia, a resolution is adopted to recommend to all governments, the creation of the post of Chief Dental Officer (responsible for dental health).
  • 1937 United States Alvin Strock inserts the first implant Vitallium dental.
  • 1938 United States The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic fibers, appears on the market for lead the replacement of brushes with natural bristles from animal hair.
  • 1938 United States The CAOD index is used for the first time in a large study of populations in the United States. United by Klein, Palmer, and Knutson.
  • 1940 United States Trendley Dean determines the level of ideal fluoride in the drinking water to reduce caries without stains.
  • 1945 United States The era of the fluoridation of the waters when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water supply networks. 
  • 1949 Switzerland Oskar Hagger, a chemist, develops the first dentine acrylic resin etching system.
  • 1949 New Zealand John Patrick Walsh patents a drill with compressed air that achieves a very high speed.
  • 1951 France The IDF adopts its first resolution in support of the use of fluoride for caries control
  • 1951 Switzerland The WHO General Health Assembly decides to incorporate a dental program into the activities of the WHO.
  • 1954 Switzerland The first electric toothbrush is manufactured. In the early 1960s, cordless models are developed. 
  • 1955 United States The first fluoridated toothpaste is introduced to the market.
  • 1957 United States At the FDI World Congress in Rome, the American John Borden introduces his high-speed air.
  • 1957 United States Dentsply introduces its ultrasonic device to remove tartar.
  • 1960 The technique of working in a sitting position, four-handed (dentist and assistant), with the patient in lying position. This technique improves productivity and shortens work times.
  • 1960 Europe Lasers are developed and approved for soft tissue procedures. 1961 United States/USSR Space dentistry is established as a discipline. During long stays in the In space, astronauts in a zero-gravity situation quickly lose bone density which can lead to tooth loss.
  • 1962 United States Rafael Bowen develops a complex thermosetting resin used in modern composite resins
  • 1965 Germany The first micromotor is introduced by Siemens, ending the era of Doriot's pulley arm.
  • 1971 Germany Based on the earlier proposal of German Professor Joachim Viohl, the two-digit coding of the IDF is introduced as a worldwide standard.
  • 1975 Germany Articaine is introduced as a substance standard for local anesthesia in dentistry.
  • 1980 Sweden Per-Ingvar Brånemark describes the techniques of osseointegration for dental implants and the laws for the foundation of modern implantology.
  • 1980 Europe The first Dental Directive in the European Union harmonizes teaching in European faculties, allowing dentists to practice throughout the EU.
  • 1980 World The increase in new infections leads to an extensive review of dental procedures, equipment, disposable material, and sterilization protocols, all with the purpose of eliminating the risk of cross-infection.
  • 1981 Switzerland/UK The WHO and the FDI jointly declare the "Global Oral Health Goals for the Year 2000".
  • 1990 United States The emergence of new materials restoratives, in addition to the increased use of whitening dental, veneers, and implants inaugurates the era of dentistry aesthetics.
  • 1990 Canada The term "Evidence-Based Dentistry" (EBD), adopted from evidence-based medicine ("the integration of best research with clinical experience and patient values") is accepted as a rational and scientific synthesis of the practice of dentistry
  • 1994 Switzerland/UK WHO and IDF declare 1994 the "International Year of Oral Health", dedicating the 7th from April to World Oral Health Day.
  • 1997 United States The FDA approves the Erbium-YAG laser, the first to be used in the treatment of cavities. 
  • 2000 France During the Congress Annual in Paris celebrates the centenary of the organization. Jacques Chirac receives the IDF Council at the Palais of the Elysée Palace to commemorate this occasion.
  • 2001 France The IDF establishes the Committee for World Dental Development and Health Promotion in order to respond to growing disparities in oral health in the world.
  • 2002 United States Reference work published: Oral Health in America: A report of the Surgeon General.
  • 2003 Switzerland/France/United States Global Oral Health Goals for 2020 established jointly by WHO, FDI, and IADR
  • 2004 Kenya The first Conference on Oral Health in Africa is organized by the IDF and WHO in Nairobi. The Nairobi Declaration on Oral Health in Africa recognizes oral health as a human right basic, for the first time. 
  • 2005 Switzerland The WHO Framework Convention on the Control The current FCTC, using international law to improve public health, requires governments to implement proven methods to reduce the consumption of tobacco.
  • 2005 France The joint publication IDF/WHO Tobacco or Oral Health is published in six languages.
  • 2006 France/Switzerland A consultation of experts brought together by WHO, IDF, and IADR, recognize appropriate access to fluoride as part of human rights.
  • 2007 Switzerland Health ministers from 193 countries adopt the first resolution on oral health in 26 years, during the 60th World Health Assembly in Geneva, calling for renewed attention to oral health across the world 
  • 2008 Switzerland The first World Noma Day is celebrated in Geneva, on the occasion of the World Health Assembly The WHO, IDF, and other organizations are alerting the world to this disease of forgotten poverty.
  • 2008 France The FDI declares that World Health Day Oral must be held every year on September 12 (anniversary of IDF founder Charles Godon and date of the historic Alma-Ata conference in Primary Care). In 2013 the commemorative day will be moved to the 20th March.
  • 2009 France First edition of the Oral Health Atlas published by the IDF.
  • 2011 United States The UN adopts the Political Declaration at its high-level meeting in the General Assembly, on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, recognizing the burden of disease for many countries
  • 2012 Switzerland The FDI publishes its Vision 2020 guidance document: Shaping the future of oral health.
  • 2013 Switzerland The Minamata Convention on Mercury is adopted by the United Nations Program for the Environment, to reduce mercury pollution.
  • 2015 Switzerland The WHO publishes the Guide: Sugar Consumption in adults and children. 

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