History of dentistry – Oral disease has been a problem for humans from the beginning of history. Skulls of CroMagnon peoples, who inhabited the earth 25,000 years ago, show evidence of tooth decay.
The earliest recorded reference to oral disease in history of dentistry is from an ancient (5000 B.C.) Sumerian text that describes, “tooth worms” as a cause of dental decay. There is historical evidence that the Chinese used acupuncture around 2700 B.C. to treat pain associated with tooth decay.
The history of dentistry dates back thousands of years to ancient civilizations. Evidence of this history is available through archeological excavations. Archeologists have been able to date dentistry as far back as 3000 B .C. One example of history of dentistry is found in human skulls which include various forms of tooth replacement as well as other dental procedures.
In addition to actual remains, scientists have discovered dental tools such as forceps and dental picks. It is interesting when we realize that many of the designs of these ancient artifacts are utilized in the instruments today. In many civilizations such as those of the Chinese, the Egyptians, and the Greeks, there were designated healers who experimented in the treatment of dental ailments.
The ancient Roman civilization is an excellent source for information relating to the lifestyles of ancient times. We are fortunate to benefit from the writings of Roman scientists and scholars, as it is from these works that we are able to learn from this civilization. There was a scholar who lived about A.D. 30 named Celsus. He created a medical documentation called On Medicine, which is considered to be one of the best medical works of his time.
It is interesting to note that although his work has served as one of the first medical texts, Celsus was not a physician. Celsus wrote in his book on several areas of history of dentistry. One subject of interest to him was in the induction of sleep for patients who suffered from toothaches.
He also wrote quite a bit on the treatment to aid in the resolution of pain from dental abscesses. The writing of Celsus also contained documentation regarding the first recognized cases of orthodontic treatment in history of dentistry. This was accomplished through the use of appliances and finger pressure.
Arabian physicians attached great importance to clean teeth. They described various procedures to “scrape” the teeth and designed sets of specialized instruments to accomplish that task. The Arabians in history of dentistry used a “toothbrush,” a small polishing stick that was beaten and softened at one end, applied mouthwashes and dentifrice powders.