Know Your Dentist: The History

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Know Your Dentist: The History

The science that involves the treatment of human tooth is called dental sciences. Any person dealing with dental sciences is known as a dentist or a dental surgeon. A gentle dentist deals with any problems of the teeth, starting from infections in the mouth to oral cavities or tooth extraction. A dentist is supported by a team of other specialists like dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians and such. But the main person in charge is the dentist. A dentist is generally a person who has achieved one of the several degreed acknowledged by the schools of medicine across the globe. He is either a Bachelor of Dental Science or a Doctor of Dental Science, Medicine or Surgery. Advanced degrees include an MD for specialists.

The science of dentistry first started in the middle ages in France and China. There, the barbers were the ones in charge of dentistry. There were generally two groups of dentists, the lay barbers and the barbers accredited to a guild who specialized in dentistry. The lay barbers used to perform normal dental hygiene services and basic tooth extraction while the advanced and more complicated surgeries were performed by guild members. Later several decrees issued by the government prevented the lay barbers from performing any oral services leaving them entirely to the guild members. Ambrose Pare, the famous barber surgeon from France who elevated the status of dental barbers by treating several monarchs was the first person to publish a book on the science of dentistry and tooth.

However it was Pierre Fauchard who is referred to as the father of modern dentistry. This gentleman was also from France and is credited for publishing another equally significant book for studying dental sciences. In the 1700s dentists from Europe started immigrating to America and by the late 1700s Americans had their own school of dentists. America did its part to enrich dentistry too. The specialised chair that we see in the office of dentists now was invented in the US. Forensic application of dental sciences and hence sees its root in America.

In the middle 1800, we see the rise of dental schools. These schools started giving out degrees that were to be acknowledged over the world. In the US special decrees were passed that allowed a person to practice dentistry in a state only after he has passed an exam allowing him to do so. However, they were not very harshly implemented and we find several examples of individuals flouting the rules. During that period, dentistry also made some significant improvements. The use of anaesthesia for surgery was introduced. Also, gold foils were found to be a dependable and effective, albeit expensive antibacterial dental filling agent. In the year 1859 the American Dental Association was found and it was the first recognised board to monitor dental sciences and its progress.