The History of Oral Surgery

Depiction of oral surgery in medieval times

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As long as humans have had teeth, dental care and oral surgery have been a vital part of their health and well-being. From ancient civilizations to modern times, people have devised various methods to ensure their teeth stay healthy and functional. Here are some highlights of the history of oral surgery and dental care.

Ancient Egypt

Egyptian mummies reveal that their teeth were often in poor condition, with evidence of cavities, abscesses, and periodontal disease. The Egyptians had simple toothbrushes made from twigs and often used a mixture of ground pumice and vinegar to clean their teeth. Dental procedures were performed by practicing physicians and involved extracting teeth with crude instruments.

Ancient Greece and Rome

In ancient Greece, Hippocrates wrote about tooth decay and recommended remedies such as rinsing with a mixture of salt, alum, and honey. Roman doctors were known to extract teeth with specialized instruments and even used dental bridges and gold fillings.

Medieval Europe

In the Middle Ages, barbers often performed dental procedures and extracted teeth. Dental hygiene was not a priority, and many people suffered from tooth decay and gum disease. A popular trend at the time was to make dentures from the teeth of deceased individuals, which often caused health problems due to poor hygiene.

18th and 19th Centuries

During this time, dental care began to take a more modern form, with the invention of toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental floss. In the 19th century, anesthesia was developed, making dental procedures much less painful. This led to the establishment of dentistry as a profession and the opening of the first dental schools.

Modern Times

Today, dental care and oral surgery have come a long way from their ancient roots. Advanced technology allows for more precise and efficient procedures, and preventative care is emphasized to promote overall dental health. From braces and dental implants to oral cancer screenings and wisdom teeth removal, oral surgery is more common than ever.

The evolution of dental care and oral surgery throughout history reflects our constant quest for better health and well-being. While our methods may have changed, the importance of maintaining healthy teeth and gums remains the same.

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