History of Dentistry

History of Dentistry

As we approach the end of the year, it’s usually customary to take a little look back on times gone by. As a company that has a long history in the field of dentistry, we’ve always made a point of taking pride in all the hard work from years past that we’ve built our success on, but without living in the past. This month, though, to celebrate the end of another successful year, we thought it might be fun to tell you a little bit about the history of our profession. It’s a very long and eventful history, so we can only fit bits and pieces into one blog post, but we hope they give you a general idea.

Dentistry is literally an ancient profession, as it can be traced all the way back to Ancient Egypt where, around 7500 B.C., people are known to have had the first replacement teeth (ancient versions of dentures and crowns). You can track the development of, and discussion around, dentistry throughout the Ancient World, with the first recorded reference to a professional dental practitioner made in 2600 B.C.

Moving on to Ancient Greece, legendary thinkers like Hippocrates and Aristotle also dedicated some of their thoughts to dentistry, describing dental methods from how to treat decayed teeth to using wires to fix loose teeth. Similarly, there are extensive writings about topics like the importance of oral hygiene (yes, dentists have been desperately trying to promote it for several millennia now) from the Ancient Roman medical writers.

As is often the case in any field of medicine, the traces of the beginning of the profession itself, as well as several innovations within the field, can be traced back to China. For example, in 700 A.C. Chinese medical writers were already discussing the use of a type of amalgam in dental care. One of the most important developments to the profession itself is made in 1200 in France, when the first Guild of Barbers is established. In case you didn’t know, both surgery as well as dentistry were performed by barbers for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages.


The 19th century saw plenty of developments in dentistry techniques as well as the starting of the first dentistry practice in the United States by John Baker in 1760, an immigrant from England. As an interesting addition, 1776 is when the first known post-mortem dental forensics procedure was done, used to verify the identity of a deceased based on a bridge a dentist can confirm as one he had earlier constructed for the patient. The next two hundred years are a whirl of innovations at a pace that’s ever increasing and impossible to detail in one blog post. But essentially they’ve led us to a place where we can alleviate almost any pain situation, fix practically all aesthetic problems and, generally, make people’s smiles more beautiful than ever.

If you want to know more about what we as the leading providers of procedures from emergency dentistry to dental implants in Philadelphia can do for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us directly.