These days we are spoiled for choice when it comes to the treatments and products available in the world of modern dentistry but somebody needed to invent them first.
Living in 2019 means that we live in an era where most things have already been invented, sometimes for many thousands of years. This sometimes causes us to take a lot of things for granted and we don’t often take the time to consider that was a time when these things didn’t exist. Dentistry is a great example of this and we made some groundbreaking discoveries over the years to give you the excellent treatment and care that you experience today.
The origins of dentistry
The earliest known mention of a dentist goes all the way back to 1092 and a decree made by Pope Cyril II of Alexandria that all priests and monks would have a particular look that included a cleanly shaven face and a new hairstyle. Because barbers and surgeons were using the same types of tools they formed an almost dual occupation where each could do the other’s job.
These barber-surgeons went on to make hugely important contributions to society as they began to make technical advances and the first of these was Ambroise Pare who treated four French kings and was the first use ligature for bleeding wounds and not hot oil cauterisation. He lived a long and productive life and made several inventions crucial to dentistry and his extraction instruments are still used to this very day.
The invention of the toothbrush and toothpaste
The toothbrush in its modern form was first popularised by an Englishman by the name of William Addis who ironically came up with the concept while he was in prison, by running swine bristles through an altered piece of cattle bone. Almost 100 years later, the first toothbrush that featured 3 rows of bristles was released in 1844 and in 1939 the first electric toothbrush was available to the public.
The brushing routine was complete in 1850 with the creation of toothpaste which in its early days was made from pumice or powder. The toothpaste tube itself is actually based on the design used by French painters and the patent was designed by an American dentist named Dr Washington Wentworth Sheffield. That fluoride is now a common ingredient of toothpaste is in itself a modern marvel and the role of fluoride in caries prevention has been named in the top 10 greatest health advances in the 20th century.
When you see what we are able to achieve with today’s dental technologies it does make one very glad indeed that these fine people have dedicated their lives to the betterment of our oral health. We recommend that you come in to see us at least every 6 months so that we can keep an eye out for anything that might need fixing and as the (very true) saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”.