Dentistry has been practiced for at least 9,000 years and tooth extraction and remedies for toothaches have likely been around in some form for much longer. The first dentist whose name we know is Hesi-Re. He lived during the Third dynasty of Egypt sometime around 1600 B.C. In recovered documents, he is referred to as “Chief of Dentists and Physicians” and “Doctor of the Tooth.” He is recognized as the first person to discover periodontal disease.
Even before Hesi-Re, however, the practice of dentistry was well under way. The earliest evidence of dentistry has been found in present-day Pakistan. The evidence shows that members of the Indus River Valley Civilization cured dental issues with the use of bow drills. Essentially, the bow drill was the ancient, hand-powered antecedent of today’s dental drills. These drills predate the invention of anesthesia, which means treatment with them would have been very painful.
By about 4,500 B.C., fillings were being used. The oldest evidence of the use of dental fillings was found in present-day Slovenia and was found to be about 6,500 years old. It is possible that fillings of one sort or another were used before this time, but evidence has yet to be discovered. The filling that was found was made of beeswax and was packed into a tooth with a deep cavity. This beeswax filling was likely effective in reducing the pain and swelling that the cavity caused.
In the dark ages, advances in dentistry, as in many other fields, were lost. Dentistry was, for a time, no longer considered a unique practice and dental work was performed in large part by barbers and, sometimes, medical doctors. Barbers primarily focused on extracting teeth.
In 1723, modern dentistry was born with the publication of Pierre Fauchard’s The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on Teeth. This treatise offered a comprehensive approach to the care and treatment of teeth.
The dentists of today owe their knowledge to the innovators of 9,000 years ago and of yesterday, who did not settle with the status quo of dental care and who made today’s treatments possible. If you’re in need of today’s finest dental treatment, visit The Dental Center at Easton Town Center today.