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One of earliest discoveries in dentistry was when archeologists discovered a 14,000-year-old ancient tooth that contained remnants of a dental cleaning with flint tools due to an infection. With this finding, it led scientists to believe that the dental profession may be much older than we originally thought.

As of today, the first written text we have that mentions dentistry is from around 5000 BC when a Sumerian manuscript was found. It describes “tooth worms” as the origin of dental decay, believe it or not, this theory wasn’t really proven false until the 1700s.

The first organization of dentists gathered in France during the middle ages. They called themselves by a different name however and did more than just dentistry. They did a number of treatments including anything medically-related or anatomically-related like the teeth and even hair! They called themselves barbers. Eventually, this group of practitioners evolved into two groups. Barber-surgeons with education and training performed complex operations, while those with less experience and education helped with more routine services.

In the 1700s, a Frenchman, often called the Father of Modern Dentistry, by the name of Pierre Fauchard wrote a book called “The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on Teeth”. It provided the first ever comprehensive dental system. Dentistry began to spread in popularity throughout other parts of the world, including the United States.

The first dental college opened in Baltimore, Maryland in 1840. Later in 1873, Colgate began mass-producing toothpaste and toothbrushes, but mass education about taking care of one’s teeth did not really become common knowledge until after World War II when American soldiers brought their knowledge of oral health care back to their hometowns. This was when dentistry was realized for how it important it really is.

Technology, medicine, and other innovations have helped dental work become more aesthetic, quicker and more comfortable than ever before. Give H.T. Macon Sapp, DDS in Durham, North Carolina at 919-489-9171 to set up an appointment with Dr. Macon Sapp and get a feel for today’s dentistry and the wonderful advances we’ve made.