Dental Care: A Short History

I’ve just recently had some dental work done. One small cavity, to be specific. Someone I know very well had to have 6 taken care of. I won’t name any names *ahem*, so as to save said person from embarrassment.

Anyways, as I was pondering the process of fillings, and drills, the question came to me-when exactly did dentistry first come about? I mean, toothbrushes have been around for more than a hundred years-so what about dentists?

Did you know that dentistry has been around since Biblical times? The earliest recording of toothaches, and their cure, was recorded in Nineveh on a tablet known as the Legend of the Tooth Worm.

Dentistry goes all the way back to the year 3000 BC. Inside the burial chamber of Hesi-Re, in Egypt, holds the inscription, “The greatest of those who deal with teeth [chief toother], and of the physicians.”

By the time Moses led the Hebrew people out of Egypt, Egyptian dentists had already developed false teeth.

A short history of dental care in America:

John Baker was the first to practice dentistry in America, after he arrived from England in 1760.

In 1779, Isaac Greenwood, the first native-born American dentist was born. His son, John Greenwood, would go on to be president George Washington’s most regular dentist. In fact, John was the one who designed Mr. Washington’s dentures, which were in fact carved from the tusk of a hippopotamus.

John also invented the first known foot engine. He modified the foot pedal off of his mothers spinning wheel to rotate the drill.

Do you remember Paul Revere? Of course you do, “The British are coming! The British are coming!” Did you know he was a dentist? He trained under John Baker, in Boston, and actually became the first forensic dentist used by C.S.I., Crime Scene Investigators, when he identified the body of General Jospeh Warren. Paul Revere was able to identify the General by two false teeth that Mr. Revere had placed in before the war that cost Mr. Warren his life had begun.

Some friends of the family went to a museum exhibit a few years back, and saw how the dental tools shown there are almost exactly like the ones used today.

It’s interesting to read about history, and see that there really isn’t anything new today, is there?

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