With the rise of the Internet, more people are now aware of what cosmetic dentistry can do. From bleaching teeth whiter to repairing chips and cracks, its treatments can make smiles look beautiful in no time! Still, the field hasn’t always been this way. Many have tried giving themselves prettier smiles for thousands of years, but earlier efforts weren’t as practical. For those interested, read on to learn how cosmetic dentistry evolved from primitive beginnings to its current form.
The Beginning: Ancient Origins
Around 700 B.C., the Etruscans would make dentures with ivory, bone, and animal teeth. They even sometimes used pearly whites from other humans.
The ancient Egyptians, meanwhile, made dental crowns and bridges from gold. Plus, they created a stain-removing toothpaste from pumice stone and vinegar.
In terms of strangeness, though, there are few who can beat the cosmetic treatments done by the ancient Romans. That group made teeth cleaner by using urine, which has ammonia that breaks apart stains and whitens teeth. Historians do note, however, that the substance was likely used more as a mouthwash.
The Middle: Medieval & Enlightenment Eras
Cosmetic dentistry developed slightly in the medieval period and still had drawbacks. For instance, barbers filed and coated teeth to make them whiter. Unfortunately, the process often destroyed the tooth’s enamel and thus the tooth itself.
On the other hand, the European Enlightenment made great improvements. People relied on ceramic for dentures, and porcelain teeth got popular. Some dentists made plaster molds to fit false teeth better. There were still plenty of mistakes, though. Dentists in the 1800s placed metal in the sockets of missing teeth, which led the body to reject the replacement tooth.
The End: 20th Century to Present Cosmetic Dentistry
Since the 20th century, cosmetic dentistry has focused more on creating good, natural-looking teeth. Drs. Haywood and Heymann produced a teeth whitener from carbamide peroxide in 1989. Michael Buonocore invented a white tooth filling in the 1950s, which was helped by the invention of permanent bonding in the 1980s. The latter decade also saw the rise of porcelain veneers. Last but not least, Invisalign began its rise as a teeth-straightening treatment in 1998.
Cosmetic dentists can offer their current services due to many years of dental advancements. Remember that the next time you visit with one for a smile enhancement
About the Author
Dr. Erin Prach is a dentist based in Casper, WY, having earned her dental doctorate from the University of Colorado’s School of Dental Medicine. She has taken many continuing education hours post-graduation and even studied oral surgery. Her specialties include preventive, cosmetic, dentistry, and emergency smile treatments. Dr. Prach currently practices at her self-titled clinic and can be reached at her website or by phone at (307)-337-4770.