Dentistry in the 1700s: A Short Timeline

Posted .

Did you know that humans were cleaning teeth as far back as 12,000 B.C.? Well, it’s true! Even so, for thousands of years, growth in the field was relatively slow. Then, in the 18th century, growth in the profession began to pick up at an accelerated rate, particularly in France and America. Here’s a brief timeline:

1723: A monumental book called The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth by Pierre Fauchard is published. This was the very first book to offer a completely comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry and for this reason its author is often called “The Father of Modern Dentistry”
1746: A Frenchman named Claude Mouton pens the process of repairing damaged and decayed teeth with gold cap crowns and suggests sheathing them in white enamel to match the color and consistency of surrounding natural teeth.
1760: John Baker, a British dentist, comes to Colonial America and starts the first dental practice in that region of the world.
1768-1776: Paul Revere, the same man who warned the colonial army that “the British are coming”, was trained by John Baker in dentistry. He advertises his services in a Boston newspaper, and during the Revolutionary war, at the Battle of Breed’s Hill, he identifies the body of his friend, Dr. Joseph Warren, by examining a particular bridge had constructed for him. This is the first documented case of post-mortem dental forensics.
1789: A French dentist named Nicholas Dubois de Chemant purchases the first patent for artificial porcelain teeth.
1790: John Greenwood, who had worked on the teeth of George Washington, patents the “dental foot engine” or a dental drill powered by a foot treadle. In the same year, another American named Josiah Flagg invents the first dental chair.

Dr. Christopher Hall and our team at Hays Dental Group, LLC in Bozeman, Montana, appreciate the effort of our forefathers who helped to advance something we know and love so well. Want to experience the benefits of dentistry in the 21st century? Call us at 406-586-2117.