The History of Dentistry

Dentistry did not begin in a snap of a finger, or a few years back. The field of medicine involved in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the oral cavity, and the promotion and maintenance of the oral health goes way back to the ancient civilizations, having its first indication of practice in 7,000 B.C.

Thanks, Hawaii Family Dental, for providing Denthusiast with this great infographic!




  • 5000 B.C. – “Tooth worms” were described in a Sumerian text as the cause of tooth decay.
  • 2600 B.C. – Death of Hesy-Re, who is believed to be the first “dentist”
  • 500 to 100 B.C. – Hippocrates, Aristotle, and Celsus write about dentistry and oral health
  • 1530 – Artzney Buchlein, the first book entirely devoted to dentistry was published in Germany
  • 1723 – Father of Modern Dentistry Pierre Fauchard published Le Chirurgien Dentiste, becoming the first to comprehensively describe the practice of Dentistry.
  • 1790 – John Greenwood, one of George Washington’s dentists, makes the first known dental foot engine.
  • 1825 – Samuel Stockton manufactures porcelain teeth.
  • 1832 – The first reclining dental chair is invented by James Snell.
  • 1833 – Edward Crawcour and his nephew Moses Crawcour introduce amalgam filling in the United States.
  • 1839 – Charles Goodyear invents economical denture bases made of vulcanized rubber.
  • 1840 – The world’s first dental school Baltimore College of Dental Surgery is founded by Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris.
  • 1841 – The first dental practice act is enacted in Alabama.
  • 1846 – William Morton conducts the first successful public demonstration of ether anesthesia use.
  • 1880s – Tube toothpaste begins mass production and mass marketing.
  • 1882 – Codman and Shurtleff makes un-waxed dental floss available for commercial use.
  • 1895 – C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental X-ray in the US.
  • 1899 – Forms of malocclusion are classified by Edward Hartley Angle.
  • 1903 – Charles Land invents porcelain jacket crown.
  • 1938 – Nylon toothbrushes enter the market.
  • 1945 – Newburgh, New York and Grand Rapids, Michigan start water fluoridation of public water system.
  • 1950 – Fluoride toothpaste is first marketed.
  • 1957 – John Borden launches the era of high-speed dentistry with his Airotor.
  • 1958 – A fully reclining dental chair is introduced.
  • 1960 – The first commercial electric toothbrush appears in the United States.
  • 1990 – The era of esthetic dentistry rises with new tooth-colored restorative materials, usage of bleaching, veneers, and implants.
  • 21st century – Computer technology merges with dentistry for the diagnosis and treatment of dental diseases. Comprehensive research on oral health increases, and importance of dentistry to overall health is given more focus and inclusion in health care.



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