Dental services, like medicine, have been practiced in some form for thousands of years. While it would be easy to assume that modern dental techniques have only been around within the last century, archaeology of ancient societies suggests that sophisticated dentistry has been in development for over 7000 years!
Treating Prehistoric Cavities
Modern dental drills weren’t invented until the late 1800s, but the concept of drilling out decayed or damaged tooth structure is much older. Excavations of Neolithic graveyards in Pakistan have revealed dental drills from as early as 7000 B.C. Flint drill tips were used in conjunction with wooden hand tools to chip away tooth structure. While no evidence of tooth fillings have been found in these ancient skeletons, the act of removing dental decay could have saved many an ancient tooth.
Ancient Dental Implants
One discovery that baffled scientists for years was ancient dental implants. The modern dental implant procedure wasn’t developed until the 1950′s, so when archaeologists uncovered a Mayan skeleton with seashells implanted into the jawbone, they weren’t quite sure what to make of it. It was assumed that the seashells must have been implanted after death, until it was determined that the living bone must have grown around the seashells to hold them in place.
Ancient Egyptians also installed dental implants using a sophisticated system of gold wires, while a soldier in ancient Rome was discovered with a prosthetic iron tooth implanted into the bone. Somehow, the ancient knowledge that living bone tissue could support and grow around a foreign object was lost for thousands of years.
Tooth Extraction in the Dark Ages
The Dark Ages were dark times for dentistry as well. Sophisticated dental techniques that had been developed in ancient Egypt and Rome were completely lost, and most dental problems were treated with a complete removal of the affected tooth. Since dentistry was not recognized as an official profession during this time period, the local barber would often perform dental procedures. Unfortunate patients with severe cavities or tooth infections found themselves at the mercy of a barber with forceps!
The Birth of Modern Dentistry
French physician Pierre Fauchard was one of the first to publish a book about dental procedures in the 1700′s. His writings established the dental science as it is used today. Known as the “Father of Modern Dentistry,” Fauchard wrote about dental treatments from tooth fillings and periodontal treatment to prosthodontics. Fauchard developed multiple surgical techniques to save teeth rather than the common method of extracting infected teeth.
Since Fauchard’s work pioneered dentistry as a respectable profession, dental techniques have developed into the sophisticated system we know today.
For a complete overview of the services we provide, see our dental services page. We offer cosmetic dentistry such as teeth whitening and veneers, as well restorative procedures like composite fillings and dental implants.
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Simply Smiles Sarasota is your Florida source for the latest dentistry services. Set up your free dental consultation with Dr. Gekht today by calling 941-921-4654.