Today, if you have the finances, you can have and keep those beautiful pearly white straight teeth. People cannot achieve this on their own, but thanks to modern dentistry a perfect smile is available to all. The one thing that is required of you is regular visits to dental health professionals. Dentists and other oral health professionals play an integral part in our overall body health. For example, an untreated abscess in the mouth can turn into serious health problems.
People, young and old, do not look forward to visiting their dental professionals. It isn’t because they do not like their dentist; it is the noise made by the equipment (mainly the drill) they detest. Many dentists today offer their patients the use of headphones that allow them to listen to the artist of their choice while sitting in the dental chair with their mouth open wide and full of instruments. (Thank goodness there is not a mirror on the ceiling for us to see how silly we look.)
Looking at the history of dentistry, major improvements have happened over a short period of time. In 1728 the feared dental drill was invented by a Frenchman named Pierre-Fauchard. It was powered by catgut twisted around a cylinder or a jewelers’ bowstrings. George Washington’s personal dentist, John Greenwood, on March 6, 1790, invented the dental foot engine. Greenwood adapted a foot-powered spinning wheel to create his dental drill which was very slow and difficult to use. John Lewis patented a hand-cranked dental drill bit in 1838. In 1957 John Borden invented a high-speed, air operated dental drill. It was the front runner for the dental drill used today that runs on electricity.
During the years the dental drill was being improved, other dental firsts happened. In 1790 John Flagg attached an adjustable headrest and arm extension to a wooden Windsor chair and created the first dental chair. Dentists Chapin Harris and Horace Hayden established the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1840. C. Edmund Kells took the first dental x-ray of a living person in 1866. The first dentist to use ether anesthesia during oral surgery was William Morton in 1866. The Fones Clinic for Dental Hygienists was established in 1913 by Alfred C. Fones.
Before the dental drill and other dental equipment, before dental schools, and before dentistry was recognized as a medical specialty, dentists in some form have been around. In fact, it is one of the oldest medical specializations. Hesy Ra practiced dentistry in Egypt around 2600 BCE. In the 14th century, a tool called the dental pelican or “bird beak” was used to extract teeth. It wasn’t that many years ago that barbers extracted teeth.
Today there is a National Dentist Day. The day not only recognizes Dentists, but it also includes Dental Surgeons, Orthodontists, Periodontists, Prosthodontists, Dental Assistants, Dental Technicians, Dental Hygienists, and Dental Therapists. March 6 each year is National Dentist Day. Be sure to recognize all those valuable members of the profession that keep your smile looking beautiful.
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