top of page
  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

The Evolution of Dentistry: From 7000BC to 2020

Dentistry is one of the most important health care services available to man. Dental health is very important and requires specialised professionals. Dentistry has been around for more than 9000 years. Today India has almost 3 lakh registered dentists in the country.

Here we will see a period wise evolution of dentistry.

The Earliest Evidence: Ancient Dentistry

The earliest evidence of dentistry is of around 7000BC and is found in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians are believed to be the first civilization that started using artificial teeth to replace broken ones. This shows that the Egyptians had a good grasp of dentistry.

The first text which identifies the cause of dental decay is Sumerian and was written around 5000BC. This text highlights the presence of tooth worms as a cause of dental decay.

The first dentist is believed to be an individual in ancient Egypt by the name of Hesy-Re in 2600BC. The inscription on his tomb reads, the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians. This is the first clear evidence of a dentist.

Between 500BC and 100BC, early physicians started writing about dental problems. Famous early physicians such as Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about tooth decay, Gum Problems, the use of extraction tools and treatment of broken Jaw. This was the time where dentistry became a known profession and dental problems were provided treatment.

Following these two physicians, various other early physicians identified dental problems and wrote about them.

Dentistry as an Early Profession: The Guild of Barbers

The year was 1210 when A guild of Barbers was formed in France. The guild of barbers was used to refer to a group of individuals who were trained to use sharp objects. Astonishingly, they were specialised to provide services given by modern barbers and perform surgical operations including tooth extractions.

They were often called barber-surgeons because of their grooming and surgical skills. This practice remained lawless for almost 200 years.

In 1400, the first laws regarding dentistry were passed. The royal decrees differentiated between the minor procedures that barbers were allowed to do and the types of procedures that were left to physicians.

This gave the field a set of rules and regulations to be followed and ensure that only trained professionals were allowed to work.

: A gavel.

Caption: The 1400s saw dentistry become a regulated profession.

Alt text: A gavel.

The first specialised book on dentistry titled Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth was published in Germany in 1530. It contained detailed information about dentistry. This was followed by another book with detailed information in 1575  Complete Works by Ambrose Pare who is considered the father of surgery.

The Beginning of Specialised Dentistry- 18th Century

In the year 1723, a French surgeon by the name of Pierre Fauchard published a book called The Surgeon Dentist.  He is considered the father of dentistry. His book was the first to describe dental procedures in detail, mentioning the anatomy of teeth and gums. It also contained information regarding restorative procedures. This was a big step for dentistry.

The latter half of the 17th century brought significant changes in terms of dental equipment. The 1790s saw the first foot-powered dental drill specially made to perform dental procedures.

This was soon followed by the use of specially designed dental chairs.

The 18th century saw dentistry travel to different parts of the world with dentists setting up clinics.

The Era of Dental Advancements:  1800-1950

This was the period when dentistry became a commercial profession. The first commercial production of porcelain teeth in America was started by White Dental Manufacturing Company who went on to dominate the business for decades.

The first dental journal of the world, the American Journal of Dental Science started publishing in 1839. This was a major step towards the advancements of dental sciences.

In 1840, dental education became regulated with the establishment of Baltimore College of Dental Surgery which gave the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree. This allowed various individuals to learn the art of dental surgery and set up clinics so that the general public can access dentistry.

The 1880s saw the development of tube-based toothpaste which take the world by storm and become the worldwide choice. This was followed by the identification of microorganisms as the cause of dental decay.

A toothpaste tube


Caption: The invention of the collapsible tube revolutionized the toothpaste industry.

Alt Text: A toothpaste tube.

The diagnostics of tooth problems were given a major boost with the invention of the X-ray machine. Soon it was used for diagnosing dental problems.

The early 20th century brought a rapid rise in attention to dental health. The fluoridation of water began along with many colleges and dental hospitals being set up all over the world.

Dental Implants Kennewick WA and modern toothbrushes were also invented in this period.

Modern Dentistry: 1950’s to Today

This period has seen rapid advancements in Dentistry. It began in 1957 with the invention of high-speed air-driven contra-angle handpiece which was able to produce a whopping 300000 rotations per minute. The era of rapid dentistry was born.

1960 saw the first use of laser-based techniques for dental equipment opening the door to a wide range of treatment options. It was also the year when the first electric toothbrush was produced in Switzerland.

Caption: The 1st electric toothbrush was invented in Switzerland.

Alt Text: An electric toothbrush.

The 21st century has brought in many advancements in dentistry. There is a massive rise in surgical procedures, diagnostic techniques, understanding the cause of problems.

Now dentistry is a huge profession. It includes specialized education, specific medications, and new advancements every day. There is a rise in the use of artificial tooth implants as well.

The 21st century has also brought a vast amount of knowledge on how to prevent dental problems which have been a big plus in the fight against tooth problems.


Dentistry has come a long way. It is a very important aspect of your overall health as poor dental health can affect other parts of the body too. If you have any kind of tooth problems, visit a dentist as modern dentists provide rapid and effective treatment options for all kinds of problems.

3 views0 comments


Couldn’t Load Comments
It looks like there was a technical problem. Try reconnecting or refreshing the page.
bottom of page