The History of Dentistry By Byron J Nordhus D.D.S. on April 25, 2017

Digital image of a toothMost Americans recognize professional dental care as an important part of a good health routine. Many individuals are vigilant about scheduling twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings, as well as following up with any recommended restorative dentistry treatments to address dental complications. For these people, modern dental techniques, including laser dentistry, metal-free restorations, and dental implants, are considered the norm. However, all of these services stem from a long history of dental discoveries and advancements.

To schedule your next dental appointment, contact our Wichita, KS practice. To learn more about the history of dentistry, which can be traced back to ancient times, read on.

When Did Dentistry Begin?

The profession of dentistry was not officially established in the United States until 1760, when John Baker immigrated from England and set up his practice in America. Baker was the earliest medically trained dentist to practice dentistry in America. However, the history of dentistry and oral health care goes back much further than this, all the way to ancient civilizations.

Sumerian texts dated to 5000 B.C. are the first to contain written descriptions referring to the practice of dentistry and tooth decay. Ancient Sumerians identified “tooth worms” as the cause of tooth decay, a belief that was not disproven until the 1700s. Collected evidence points to dental practices in other ancient civilizations as well, including Egypt, Greece, and Rome. Each of these civilizations are known to have practiced oral care, ranging from devices placed to straighten the teeth, and early versions of toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The Father of Dentistry

There are many people who made strides in the profession and practice of dentistry, but one man is commonly recognized as the father of modern dentistry. In 1723, French surgeon Pierre Fauchard published a book titled The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth. This book was the first to outline a comprehensive system of the dental practice. This text outlined the oral anatomy, contained an overview of oral functions, and described dental techniques for repairing dental damage, including a guide for denture construction. Fauchard’s book served as a guide for the dental practices that are now the foundation of modern dentistry.

Modern Dental Techniques

Over the years, the field of dentistry has continued to evolve and advance. Patients today benefit from techniques that make dentistry safer and more effective, as well as restorative treatments that are more comfortable, convenient, and attractive. Some important events in the history of modern dentistry include:

  • In 1859, the American Dental Association was formed
  • The first dental x-ray of a living person in the United States was taken in 1896
  • In 1960, lasers were approved for soft-tissue work
  • The technique for osseointegration of dental implants was first described by Per-Ingvar Branemark in 1980, paving the way for this revolutionary treatment

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Byron J. Nordhus offers the latest dental techniques at his dentistry practice. If you’d like to learn more about these services and how they can benefit the health and beauty of your smile, schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Related to This

​Dr. Byron J. Nordhus

Nordhus Dentistry

Dr. Byron J. Nordhus strives to provide the highest level of comprehensive dental care at his Wichita, KS, practice, while treating his patients like family. He uses advanced materials, treatments, and technology to make dental procedures as effective and painless as possible. Affiliations include:

  • Academy of Laser Dentistry
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • American Dental Association 

To schedule your consultation, contact us online or call us at (316) 721-6730.

Message Our Team

"Dr. Nordhus and the whole team are simply amazing. Humble, professional, and always a delight to work with. Highly recommend."

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite