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Who was the first dentist? What was dentistry like in the middle ages? Why did amalgam filling create such controversy in the early 1800’s? Learn a little more about the history of dentistry with some of these stories.

The Greatest Dentist Of Them All

The title of “first dentist” has traditionally been attributed to the ancient Egyptian scribe Hesy-Re. He died in 2600 B.C., and his tomb had the inscription, “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”

Barbershop Dentistry

In 1210, the Guild of Barbers was established in France. However, these barbers not only shaved your beard, but pulled teeth as well. These jack-of-all-trades barbers performed bleedings, leeching, and routine tooth cleanings as well.

The United States Of Dentistry

In 1760, John Baker immigrated to America from England and set up the first dental practice there. In the same year, Issac Greenwood would become the first native-born dentist to practice in America. Throughout the 1800’s, America became a world leader in the dental field by establishing the first dental colleges, degrees, journals, and more.

Amalgam Wars

Wars have been fought over many things, including dental fillings. The “amalgam wars” lasted from 1833-1850, starting when two French brothers, the Crawcours, introduced amalgam filling in America. However, these brothers were later found to be quacks, sparking suspicion and controversy over the use of amalgam filling.

From Tooth Worms To Bacteria

People used to believe that cavities were caused by a tooth worm in the mouth. This belief began in 5000 B.C. in Sumeria and would not be disproven until the 1700’s. In 1890, Willoughby Miller, an American dentist living in Germany, published a book on bacteria and tooth decay. This book sparked a world-wide movement for routine brushing and flossing.