A Historical Review by a Cosmetic Dentist in Alpharetta

Posted on: January 5, 2015

Cosmetic Dentist AlpharettaAs a cosmetic dentist in Alpharetta, we understand the value of cosmetic dentistry and the ability to improve the appearance and function of teeth. When you consider the history of humankind, it is easy to make the argument that it was the first cosmetic dentists that started us down the road to proper oral hygiene and the development of dentistry as a whole. Considering the lack of understanding among ancient civilizations about gum diseases, root canals, and periodontics, it is apparent that keeping teeth whiter and replacing them when they fell out were the catalysts that started us down the road to having dentists in the first place.

How long has cosmetic dentistry been around?

In one form or another cosmetic dentistry has been around for several hundred years. Excavated human skulls show that primitive cosmetic dentists were installing dental implants, in the form of carved shells, as early as 600 A.D. Even earlier records exist, with the Etruscans making primitive forms of dentures around 700 B.C.

What kind of dentures were primitive cosmetic dentists making in 700 B.C?

Much has changed over the course of the centuries. However, a historical look at the dentures made by the Etruscans in 700 B.C. shows that they were fabricating dentures out of ivory and bone. Mostly the teeth that were used were harvested from other humans, either dead bodies or people who donated their teeth and were typically not very long lasting. Often the body would reject these teeth, and even when it did not the teeth themselves would quickly deteriorate once they had left the original owners mouth. In addition to this, there is the fact that these dentures would have had a foul, rotten smell. Despite these obvious challenges, the practice, of making dentures from teeth, continued well into the 19th century. Now, as a cosmetic dentist in Alpharetta we have modern ways of replacing teeth using composite materials.

Did ancient people whiten their teeth or is this a new trend? 

Teeth whitening has been an obsession with mankind for a very long time. There are some records that indicate the ancient Egyptians would use a mixture of pumice stone and vinegar to remove stains from their teeth. The easy access to teeth whitening also has an interesting history. The ancient Romans were among the first to have a widespread desire for whiter teeth. As a result, they came up with a paste, containing urine, that they would brush with. This may sound disgusting to us today, but it was an effective solution for the day. Since urine contains ammonia, a natural whitening agent, the paste would have worked and, in fact, this solution remained around until the 18th century.

What was the turning point for cosmetic dentistry?

Despite its humble, and slightly unsanitary, beginnings cosmetic dentistry really started to make huge advances in the 1700’s and 1800’s. Important inventions like the first porcelain dentures were made in the 1700’s which paved the way for dentists to have a much larger, and much more sanitary, tool box which with to give people a brighter smile.  As a cosmetic dentist in Alpharetta, we understand that these ancient tools paved the way for the modern and more effective solutions that we have today.