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You probably know that dentistry is a very ancient practice, but do you know the identity of the first recorded dentist? To shine a light on the achievements of dentistry, we compiled a brief history of its evolution.

The first known dentist was an Egyptian scribe by the name of Hesy-Re, who lived around 2600 B.C.. His tomb includes the title “the greatest of those who deal with teeth.” Other prominent historical figures such as Aristotle and Hippocrates listed toothache treatments in their writing.

Throughout history, not much is known of dentistry aside from writings of treatments for dental maladies. Tooth extraction was the main cure for an ailment. Dental procedures were performed by specialized barbers known as “lay barbers,” as dentistry was not considered a true profession until much later.

In 1723, French dentist Pierre Fauchard, credited as the Father of Modern Dentistry, published the first comprehensive system of caring for and treating teeth. Fauchard also introduced dental fillings and the idea that acid from sugar can cause tooth decay.

Fauchard’s work allowed other dental professionals to contribute their knowledge, and dentistry took flight. During this time, dental x-rays came into use and the ADA (American Dental Association) formed in Niagara Falls, NY. John Baker is the first medically-trained dentist to practice in the U.S., and he passed his knowledge on to Paul Revere.

The 20th century produced Novocain, as well as the nylon toothbrush, water fluoridation, tubed toothpaste and mouthwash. Laser treatment followed in 1960. Dentists also took this time to perfect the methods used today.

Dentistry is always changing as experts discover new ways to treat dental issues. If it’s been more than six months since your last checkup, contact Smiles Unlimited at 925.344.5757 for an appointment. Come see what may have changed since your last visit.