The dental industry has come a long way since laughing gas, pliers, string and a door knob.
The ancient origins of dental awareness date back to 5000 BC when a Sumerian text mentioned “tooth worms.”
Since then, archaeologists have found references to teeth disease , such as an Egyptian artifact that mentions toothache remedies. Egyptian Hesy-Re is often referred to as the first dentist. His tomb has the words “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”
Let’s fast forward to the 20th century. According to the American Dental Association these are some of the dental innovations that occurred:
- 1903, the porcelain jacket crown is created
- 1905, Novocain is developed
- 1907, casting machine invented to let dentists create precision cast fillings
- 1910, first organized training program for dental nurses in Ohio
- 1911, U.S. Army Dental Corps is authorized
- 1937, first dental implant developed
- 1938, nylon toothbrush introduced
One of the most significant invention and controversial is the introduction of fluoride into the public water supply of five cities, including Grand Rapids and New York. Water fluoridation is considered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention one of the ten greatest public health innovations in the 20th century.
Water fluoridation is controversial because many people consider fluoridation a health problem. They call water fluoridation an unethical form of mass medication without our consent. The Fluoride Action Network says studies shows fluoridation is linked to bone fractures, thyroid problems and brain development impairment. The CDC, however, says 1 ppm of fluoride in the drinking water is safe.
Let’s jump to 2015 to see what trends exist in the dental industry. Although we may remember the sole dental practitioner, more and more group practices are popping up. There are economic reasons why the solo dental practice of the past 100 years is dwindling. The dental industry is just following the group trend in the medical community. Also, costs keep increasing and this is a way to defray the costs.
Technology is also continuing to play a significant role in dentistry. More and more practices use tablets to keep e-records and CAD/CAM technology is on the rise. Wikipedia says Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing is being used to improve the design and development of crowns, veneers, implants, etc.
From pliers and string with a door knob, the dental industry has come a long way.
The major challenge facing the dental industry is getting 50 percent of the population in this country that does not come regularly to see a dentist. This is surprising to me since I go to the dentist two to three times a year for cleanings. My mother did it, and now I do.
Whether it is fear or phobias or financial constraints 50 percent of Americans are putting their oral health at risk. Cavities, gum disease, dry mouth and oral cancer are health issues that can be prevented and/or minimized by regular visits to the dentist.
If the dental industry targeted these people it would be a boom for individual oral health.