History of Dentistry
Dentistry is a practice that started a long time ago. It traces back to the ancient times. Historical examinations reveal that people looked after their teeth and the general cleanliness of their mouth using special techniques. Today the same techniques are still in existence although some advancement has been adopted due to change in technology in the health sector and in dentistry. The paper addresses the history of dental science from prehistoric times to the present; it also examines the technological advancement in dentistry and the discoveries that have been made.
During the ancient times, people knew about the importance of general hygiene of their mouth and the teeth. Following the successive discoveries in Medicine, the unhygienic condition of the mouth can lead to teeth disorders like a tooth ache. In the prehistoric medical science, primitive.
Since prehistoric times, people cared about health state of their teeth. The most primordial equipment for general cleaning was applied. Simple aesthetics cures were applied to reduce toothaches and disorders in the mouth. Currently, improvement in technology has challenged the use of traditional tools. However, the rich history has contributed immensely in the discoveries of new medical tools in dental science. Hence, analyzing historical patterns of change is essential in understanding the modern concept in dentistry.
Following the earliest documentaries and reports; the discovery of dental decay traces back to 5000 BC. According to Nelson and Ian, 378, in the early 3700 BC, Egyptians records reveal some diseases associated with the teeth decay. The earliest documents also possess various information concerning primitive medicines and anesthetic that was in existence during the time.
According to Egyptians records dating back to 2700BC, there were experts in dentistry, they referred to them as dentists. They would examine the teeth and provide appropriate treatments related to the disorder. The Greek historic records also show the practice of teeth extraction. In ancient Greek medicine, the affected teeth were removed to prevent the spread of disorders. The practice was carried out by the specialized people.
From the above historical events, the conclusion is that there was an existence of some forms of dental science. People had the interest of maintaining the hygienic condition of their teeth as well as the general mouth.
The earliest toothpaste was made by the Chinese, they were sticks extracted from the twig trees. They were meant to refresh the breath. The natural toothbrush in the form of bristle was first made in china; it had the soft bristles attached to the bamboo stick. It was transported to Europe because Europeans loved its soft nature. The contents of the earliest toothpaste were water, honey, and the egg yolk.
Other sources of historical records also reveal that the oldest toothpaste was discovered in Egypt dating back to 400AD. The ingredients of the paste included dry flowers, elements such as mint, dried pepper grains, and dehydrated flowers. The toothpaste helped in refreshing the mouth as well as removing stains and killing the microbes that corrode the teeth.
To study the effectiveness of the ancient pastes, some dentists synthesized the similar toothpaste and tested the ingredients. The result reveals that extract was a good refreshing chemical when cleaning the mouth. When brushing the teeth, the ancient people applied crushed stick where the toothpaste was placed at the smashed end.
In the Medieval times, the dentist services were only available to the rich. It is only the wealthy people who knew the good side of keeping their mouth and teeth fresh. The other group of people only seeks the attention of the surgeons only when they were having trouble with the teeth. The dentists perform various examinations to the tooth including removal of the affected teeth, applying anesthetics, performing light surgical operation and cutting of hair.
The teeth experts were also able to create artificial teeth made from bones. They were specifically made out of the cow and human bones. Modern studies show that teeth problem is major as a result of excessive sugar intake. In the Medieval age, poor people rarely had tooth related disorders; the reason was a lack of money to buy sugar. In the case of a toothache, the poor adopted superstitious practices to find a solution. At times, they would kiss the donkey believing that the act would relieve pain. From such practices, the conclusion is that the traditional beliefs influenced the way people approaches issues relating to health. In modern times, people are less superstitious and turn to the use of practical approaches characterized by laboratory tests to address the teeth related diseases.
Dentistry became a discipline of study and a career course in 1728 after Pierre Fauchard’s first work of dentistry in the book 'The Surgeon Dentist'. The real advancement in dental science took a direction in 1800. The modern dentistry came as a result of great work of Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris. They formed an organization called American Society of Dental Surgeons. They also help in the formation of dental schools and provided educational facilities for training dental surgeons. Lucy Hobbs was the first female dental scientist to benefit from dental educational facilities established by Hayden and Chapin.
Several modern discoveries in dentistry took place between 1800 and 1900. The period was characterized by immense industrial revolution across Europe and in other western countries. During the time, there was a quick technological improvement in science and especially in Medicine. The foundation of the current discoveries was laid down during this period.
The modern toothpaste was synthesized in the 18th century; the main contents were chalk and soap. The first toothpaste made from mint was established in 1873 by Colgate the Company. Dental floss came into existence in 1890. The tooth drilling machines were discovered in the 1870s.The machine was inefficient and it would take hours to be filled up.
So far, the progress in dentistry has not influenced the life of many average people globally. In American, for example, the majority of average Americans started brushing their teeth during World War two. On the other hand, the US soldiers were forced to brush their teeth at least twice in a day during the war. When they returned from the battle, they brought home the habit which later spread to their neighborhood. From the above example, the state intervention led to the spread of dental practices to the average citizens. Therefore, governments should take responsibilities of creating awareness even to the third world countries where health practices are still being undermined.
In the year 1945, fluoride was introduced to the general public. It was discovered during the war. The chemical is strong in fighting tooth decay, it also help in blocking up tooth cavities caused by acidic corrosion. The federal government realized the importance of the fluorine and they wanted the entire population to benefit from it. The main idea was to reduce the dental disorders that were emerging at an alarming rate due to too much intake of sugary foods, especially among the children.
Due to the above situation, American government introduced the practice of adding fluoride to all the tap water flowing within the US territory.
The treatment practices in dentistry are characterized by intense pain. Every tool is associated with pain during teeth examination. As a result, a scientist has come up with some interventions that can help in relieving pain. Towards the end of 17th century, a British scientist carried out a test with various chemical substances. The experiment was successful because anesthetic was discovered. The substance help in reducing pain when injected into the body. It delays the transmission in the nervous system; hence, the brain does not receive impulses caused by the teeth problems.
Novocain was invented in 1905 by a German scientist, it was first called procaine. It also helps in relieving pain. In the same year, a tooth driller with much higher speed was discovered. The discoveries are still in progress and as the study of dentistry advances, more inventions are being made.
In conclusion, a scientist should be involved in more discoveries to ensure efficient treatment in dentistry. Although there has been a rapid improvement from the ancient times, there are still many things that should be done in line with the preventive measure. The introduction of computer aided techniques has helped in faster and accurate treatments. Such practices should spread across the World even to the third world countries that are still struggling with dental treatments. The government should also take responsibility of creating awareness to the citizens. The traditional beliefs influenced the way people approaches issues relating to health. In modern times, people are less superstitious and turn to the use of practical approaches characterized by laboratory tests to address the teeth related diseases.