If you go back in time, going to the dentist was focused on addressing oral health issues and getting essential treatment. While this is still the priority of dentistry today, elective procedures that are focused more on the appearance of teeth have been becoming increasing popular. However, this doesn’t mean that no one cared about the aesthetics of their smile in the past. Read on to learn about the history of cosmetic dentistry.
Ancient Cosmetic Dentistry
Going back to 700 B.C., the Etruscans attempted to replace teeth from a variety of different materials. Most of the time, dentures were constructed from ivory and bone. Sometimes, they would even use animal teeth or teeth from deceased humans. Ancient Egyptians would use seashells as a way to replace their missing teeth. Crowns and bridges were made using gold. As for teeth whitening, the Ancient Romans would use urine because of the ammonia that was present. Fortunately, we have more effective and less gross whitening methods today.
Cosmetic Dentistry of the Middle Ages
In medieval times, dentistry was completed by a barber. They would file down teeth and use a special coat to make them whiter. However, this would destroy the protective enamel of the teeth over time and eventually lead to tooth loss. During this time, Europeans would continue to use bone and ivory to replace missing teeth.
Aesthetic Dentistry of the Enlightenment
Beginning in the 1700s, cosmetic dentistry was improving. This is when porcelain became popular for dentures. Dentists would still attempt to use metals to fill the sockets of missing teeth, but the body would reject it. Porcelain teeth were becoming increasingly popular during this time.
20th Century Cosmetic Dentistry
Starting in the 1900s, the materials used for cosmetic dental treatments were beginning to change. Porcelain was not the most affordable material, so the dental industry turned to things that were more economical, like plastics and acrylics, in order to create crowns and dentures. Acrylic is still used today to make dentures. It wasn’t until the 1930s that veneers were invented to be used by film stars. In 1937, the first screw dental implant was created.
Cosmetic dentistry has been around for a long time, but it has been booming throughout the 20th century until now. There is more of a focus on enhancing beautiful, natural teeth. Popular techniques include teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, fillings, and dental implants. New techniques and technology are still being developed and are improving every single year!
Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way, and it isn’t stopping now. The value of a beautiful smile is more powerful than ever before. We can only expect the industry to grow!
About the Author
Dr. Samir K. Rana graduated from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is committed to continuing education to keep his knowledge and skills sharp. Currently, he is also a proud member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Dental Association, American Academy of Implant Dentistry, and the New Jersey Dental Association. To learn more about cosmetic dentistry or to schedule an appointment at his office in Lincoln Park, visit his website or call (973) 633-5666.