Santa Monica Dentist Rapid Smile Dental Group Dr. David Youssefi DMD

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Rapid Smile Dental Group, ~ Dr. David Youssefi DMD, FAGD ~ 2428 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste 403, Santa Monica, CA 90404 ~ (310) 696 - 6996

In 2002 the Academy of General Dentistry celebrates its 50"' anniversary. Though the dental profession has changed a great deal since then, it has changed even more through the ages. Here is a look at the history of dentistry's most common tools, and how they came to be vital components of our oral health care needs.

Where did toothbrushes and toothpaste come from?

The first toothbrushes were small sticks or twigs mashed at one end to create a broader cleaning surface. The Chinese lay claim to the first bristle toothbrush. The first electric toothbrush was marketed in 1880, though the Swiss developed the first effective electric toothbrush just after World War 11. It was introduced in the United States around 1960. Toothpaste also saw its earliest form in ancient civilizations. Early toothpaste ingredients included powdered fruit, burnt or ground shells, talc, honey arid dried flowers.

Toothpaste as we know it emerged in the 1800s, with ingredients that included soap and chalk. In 1892, the first collapsible tube was marketed and reigned supreme until 1984 when the pump dispenser was introduced. In 1956, Proctor & Gamble introduced Crest brand toothpaste with fluoride.

What's the history behind false teeth?

Thanks to modern technology, today's false teeth are largely indistinguishable from real teeth. This wasn't always the case. Perhaps the most famous false-toothed American was the first president, George Washington. Popular history gave Mr. Washington wooden teeth, though this was not the case. The first president's false teeth came from a variety of sources, including teeth extracted from human arid animal corpses. Despite this seemingly gruesome practice, dental practitioners preceding President Washington's time attempted aesthetic restorations.

Ancient civilizations used ivory arid bone to create new teeth. Unfortunately, this craft was lost until the in Id- I 800s. Rotten of damaged dentin was simply extracted, and gaps became a way of life. It wasn't until 1774 that two Frenchmen, a pharmacist and a dentist, designed a set of porcelain teeth.. These teeth came to America in 1822, arid for the rest of the century dentists and technicians tinkered with the design, fit arid feet of the teeth. A breakthrough occurred in 1839 with the discovery of vulcanized rubber, which was used to hold false teeth. Today's dentures are made of either plastic or ceramic.

How long have we had anesthesia?

Though dentistry has been around in one form or another since the days of primitive man, painless extraction wasn't available until the 1830s. In the beginning, teeth were removed with a well placed chisel and a hard swing of a mallet. Thousands of years later, during peaks of the great Greek arid Roman civilizations, the chisel and mallet method was abandoned in favor of forceps. In the 1790s, a British chemist began to experiment with the use of nitrous oxide as a pain-inhibitor and noted that its most famous side effect, laughing. He coined the anesthetic's popular nickname, laughing gas.

During the next 50 years, the gas became very popular. In 1863 the gas was combined with oxygen, becoming a staple of surgical procedures. Soon after the adoption of nitrous oxide, local anesthetics were developed. Just prior to the 1900s, cocaine was used, but once its addictive qualities were identified, the search began for a suitable alternative. Many of the alternatives were forms of synthetic cocaine, but none were successful until 1905 when a German chemist discovered procaine, which he named Novocain. The anesthetic proved extremely popular with dental professionals, as well as a public relived at the sound of "painless dentistry".


This information was compiled for you by the Academy of General Dentistry.

Fact Sheet: Dental Advances