Advances in Dentistry in the 1800s

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Let’s put it in perspective: humans have been cleaning teeth for over 14,000 years. Yet most of those years in dentistry were downright sluggish in comparison to the amazing advances of the 1800s. Here’s a short outline of dentistry advances in the 19th century in economics, education and technology:

In 1825, the White Dental Manufacturing Company formed. They sold affordable porcelain teeth, both establishing and dominating the market for the rest of the century. The French Crawcour brothers introduced amalgam filling material to America in 1833, but their business practice created a controversy among dentists where some questioned the safety of mercury fillings – and while most dentists believe them to be safe, holistic dentists ban the use of mercury even today.

Advances in dental education and knowledge was dramatically augmented. In 1840, the world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, was founded and the first Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree created. The American Dental Association (ADA) was founded in 1859 and still carries on today. In 1890, an American dentist named Willoughby Miller wrote a book about the microbial causes of tooth decay which created a worldwide movement for regular tooth-brushing and flossing habits.

A surge of dental technology was seen in the latter half of the century. In 1871, James B. Morrison patented the first factory-made foot-treadle dental engine, which meant that dentists could cut through delicate enamel and dentin smoothly. The metal tube gradually replaced toothpaste sold in boxes or jars throughout the 1880s. And in 1895, Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, discovered the x-ray, shortly thereafter adapted for dental use.

If you want to see the latest advances in modern dentistry, call 801-756-2809 to reach Dr. Clayton M. Hansen and their team at American Fork Family Dentist in American Fork, Utah.