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History of Dentistry and Oral Surgery


antique-dentist-chair-austin-oral-surgery-210x300After reading this you will be glad you live in the year 2013, a time in which modern dentistry and oral surgery exist. Surprisingly, basic oral hygiene, like brushing and flossing, was not common in America till after World War II when returning soldiers introduced oral hygiene techniques to the mainstream.

To give you an idea of what oral health was like before brushing and flossing was integral to personal hygiene, here is a brief history of dentistry and oral surgery. Prepare yourself; some of this might serve as a shock.

14th Century AD

During the Middle Ages, dentists did not yet exist. Instead, professionals who were performing these extractions during this time were not medical authorities, but barbers. Instead of providing preventative care, their work was entirely focused on removing any infected teeth for the purpose of alleviating pain. They used a forcep-like tool to extract teeth. No anesthesia was used, so we can assume that this was not the most comfortable process.

17th Century AD

Dentistry is born particularly due to the influence of physician Pierre Fauchard. The French physician introduced the concept of preventative care by explaining how acids from sugar are a source of tooth decay. Fauchard was also behind the developments of the extensive use of dental prosthesis and the introduction of dental fillings as a treatment for dental caries.

18th Century AD

Huge leaps were made in dentistry, with dentistry now considered to be a discipline in its own right, rather than a lesser form of medicine. A major development was the introduction of dentures, made with gold, silver, or ivory. Given the materials used, dentures were very expensive and incredibly uncomfortable.

19th Century AD

With a surge in the number of dental practitioners, the issue of malpractice and incompetence became more apparent, which inspired the development of the first dental journal, the American Journal of Dental Science, and the first dental school. The school, The Baltimore College of Dentistry, was the first to give out to graduates the title of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and solidified America as a world leader in the field of dentistry.


Are you thankful for being born when you were? I think so. Do us a favor and be grateful for your pearly whites. If you were born a few centuries before, they might not be there at all.

The doctors at Austin Oral Surgery use the latest techniques to ensure your oral comfort, appearance, and overall health. For more information on how the Austin Oral Surgery’s compassionate and individualized oral healthcare, call us today at 512-686-5682 or visit our website.