In modern times, most people take care of their teeth by brushing them and using dental floss. Some individuals even rinse with mouthwash and use an insurance plan to visit their dentists, but humans didn’t always practice such a high level of mouth hygiene. According to history, dentistry has a long and storied past.
In the Beginning
The first recognized dentist was Hesy-Re. After his death around 2600 BC, those who buried him inscribed his tomb with the title “the greatest of those who deal with teeth.” The Indus Valley Civilization treated tooth trouble with bow drills. People used these ancient tools for woodworking as well as for the treatment of an infected tooth. Primitive dentistry was taken up by famed figures of the past. For instance, both Hippocrates and Aristotle mentioned that they treated people for tooth problems like decay and gum disease. Treatment involved removing an unhealthy tooth with forceps and stabilizing loose ones with wires.
An ancient civilization known as the Etruscans had amazing dentists living among them. These early people resided in Italy from 166 to 201 AC, and when it came to caring for their choppers, they were incredibly inventive. For instance, the Etruscans made false ones from deceased animals or humans. To hold them together, they used gold bands. The civilization also used a gold apparatus to keep a loose tooth in place. The Romans embraced many of these same techniques.
A Career is Born
In the Middle Ages, dentistry became a profession. During this era, most dental work consisted of pulling a sore tooth with a primitive device. Curiously, the professionals in charge of extractions were the same ones people went to for haircuts. To remove a problem tooth, a barber from the Middle Ages typically used a device called a Dental Pelican or a Dental Key. Both tools mimicked the design elements of today’s forceps. In the past, when barbers moonlighted in the dental industry, they weren’t in the business of prevention as they only dealt with extractions.
During the 13th century, an organization called the Guild of Barbers began in France. Later, the group split into two sectors. One included those who had the education and training to complete complicated surgical procedures. The other group was made up of lay barbers. This group offered basic hygiene services like bleeding, shaving and tooth extraction. To keep people safe, France initiated a number of royal decrees that prevented lay barbers from performing serious surgical procedures. The country allowed them to practice bleeding, leeching and cupping. A lay barber could continue to offer extractions.
To keep their choppers clean, people chewed twigs. They also made toothpaste from items like mashed eggshells, but during these early years, toothbrushes were not available. According to historical reports, the Chinese invented a bristle model in the late 1400s.
A Career is Improved
From 1650 to 1800, the main concepts of modern-day dentistry got its start. Pierre Fauchard, a French doctor from the 18th century, was the man who developed the science. He is known as “The Father of Modern Dentistry,” and he established a number of the procedures used by today’s dental experts. Dr. Fauchard came up with the idea of dental fillings. He also understood that sugar acids are a major cause of tooth decay.
During these years, medical professionals started coming up with advancements even if they weren’t able to act on them. For instance, in the mid-1700s, Claude Mouton spoke about using white enameling with gold crowns. He also described the use of posts for root canals as well as for gold crowns. In 1789, Nicolas Dubois de Chemant requested a patent for porcelain teeth. A year later, John Greenwood, who provided dental care for George Washington, manufactured the first dental foot engine. Around this same time, Josiah Flagg invented the first dental chair.
A Move to the Future
In 1770, porcelain dentures were invented. Richard C. Skinner published America’s first dental book in 1801. During these years, advancements continued. For instance, Henry Morton introduced the use of anesthetic for dental treatments while George Fellows developed a clockwork dental drill in 1864. A few years later, the electric dental drill made its debut, and 80 years after that, the air turbine dental drill appeared on the scene.
In America, dental training became available when Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris founded the first dental school in 1840, which resulted in government involvement as well as official regulation by the American Dental Association. According to history, Alabama was the first American state to regulate dentistry by establishing a dental practice act. The legislation called for a dentist to be placed on Alabama’s medical board to grant dental licenses. Unfortunately, the state failed to enforce the legislation.
Stores began selling tubes of toothpaste in 1889, and in 1895, Wilhelm Rontgen discovered a way to make x-rays. This invention led to advancements in dental care.
The Industry’s Transformation
In 1908, Greene Vardiman Black released a two-volume treatise titled “Operative Dentistry.” The script revolutionized the industry as it became a vital text for clinical dentists for the next 50 years. Later, Black established methods for fillings, operative procedures and the use of instruments. In 1913, oral hygiene training became available when Alfred C. Fones opened his school in Connecticut. Implant metals found their way into dentistry in 1937 with Alvin Strock inserting a Vitallium screw into a patient.
During the late ‘40s, additional government involvement resulted in a bill dedicated to dental research. The bill included federal funding, which aided the industry’s advancements. Fluoride toothpaste hit the market in the ‘50s, and laser treatments for gum diseases were offered to patients in the 1960s. By the late ‘80s, people were looking into cosmetic options. A company began selling the first at-home bleaching kits in 1989.
Dental Insurance Becomes a Thing
Even with dentistry’s extensive history, dental insurance didn’t become available until 1954. California initiated the first official insurance plan. During the ‘60s, dental coverage grew in popularity and became more widespread. The ‘70s saw the arrival of employer-based plans while large insurance organizations got their start in the 1980s. Today, workers expect companies to provide dental insurance with their benefits. Often, an insurance plan will cover preventative care and much of the expense of minor dental work. This affordable coverage lets you take advantage of the advancements made in modern dentistry.
For some people, dental appointments are routine, but for others, dental anxiety makes the process a serious ordeal. Fortunately, modern dentistry is an advanced science that typically results in positive outcomes. Here are some of the fears and misconceptions people face when planning dental visits as well as a few tricks that make your worries easier to overcome.
What Are Dental Anxieties and Phobias?
People’s fears of going to the dentist can be grouped into two general categories. Dental anxiety is known as a normal level of concern about dental visits, and it can be related to simple issues like fear of pain, prior bad experiences, mistrust of injections or worries about the side effects of anesthetic procedures.
Dental phobias occur when such anxieties increase to levels that make it extremely difficult for people to function. Unfortunately, phobias may prevent individuals from taking care of their teeth until it’s absolutely necessary.
Are Dental Anxieties Unrealistic?
Many of these worries reflect valid concerns. For instance, injections are typically associated with some level of discomfort, and anesthetics commonly come with side effects, such as dizziness or lasting numbness. When these fears become so intense that they affect other areas of your life, however, it’s important to get them under control.
Fight Fear with Understanding
One way to combat dental fears is to empower yourself with knowledge. Patients have the right to know as much as possible about why they’re undergoing different procedures and what each entails. Learning more about their options can usually help people come to terms with the necessities of oral care. Educating yourself is also an important part of building a more trusting relationship with your dentist, which can really ease your fears.
Dealing with Specific Myths
It’s easy to work yourself up about anything you’re worried about. The following dental misconceptions, however, commonly seem far worse than they really are:
All Dental Procedures Hurt
It would be dishonest to say that no dental treatments cause pain. What you have to remember, however, is that the vast majority don’t and that the pain associated with letting your problems worsen is generally far more severe. For instance, nobody likes having cavities excavated, but if you just ignore them, you’ll require extensive dental work and possibly way more painful root canals. Getting treated as early as possible may not always be comfortable, but it definitely feels better than the alternatives.
I Feel Like I’m Not in Control During Dental Visits
Some individuals feel embarrassed or helpless when they let hygienists and dental professionals into their personal space. While this is somewhat natural, it’s important to remember that you’re always in control.
Even though you likely lack the dental knowledge that your doctor or nurse possesses, you can really increase your comfort with what they’re doing by learning about it in advance. Most dental offices are absolutely happy to share literature detailing what goes on during different procedures so that you can keep yourself informed even though you won’t be able to watch what’s happening to your teeth in real time.
I Lack Sufficient Dental Insurance
When properly managed, dental care doesn’t have to be expensive. There are a huge array of dental insurance plans that make it much easier for people to care for themselves and their families without straining their finances, and once again, staying on the ball helps reduce care costs. The price tags associated with in-depth procedures and long-overdue corrective work are much higher than what you’ll pay for simple preventive care, so confronting your need for dental work head-on can save you massive amounts of stress down the line.
Making Trips to the Dentist Easier
Remember, dental care doesn’t have to be a pain. Even if you suffer from severe dental anxiety, you’ll find that managing your misconceptions and becoming more informed makes it much easier to make responsible decisions about your teeth.
To learn more about dental insurance and the common issues people have with planning dental visits, check out our other blogs. Or if we missed a common misconception that affects someone you know, share it in the comments below.
Oral Health: at the Forefront of Everyone’s Mind This Year
In 2015, more and more medical reports started to emerge about the importance of oral health on a person’s general health. In fact, poor oral hygiene was tied to a number of health risks, including cardiovascular conditions and problems with pregnancy. However, scientists also released reports about genetic issues that can predispose certain people to developing more plaque, playing into a higher likelihood that a patient will develop gingivitis. These types of patients require more frequent monitoring through no fault of their own. Meanwhile, holistic health enthusiasts became entranced by the alleged health benefits of oil pulling, an Ayurvedic remedy in which people swish oils in their mouths.
Making a New Year Resolution to Prioritize Healthy Gums and Teeth
With such an increased focus upon oral health, it’s no wonder that many people are making it a New Year resolution to achieve a healthy smile this year. Whether you were born with dazzling teeth or need some help in that department, regular trips to the dentist are the best way to ensure that your New Year resolution is actually a success this year.
To guarantee that this year start off on the right foot, researching your dental insurance options is an excellent idea. Dentalinsurance.com offers the right plan, at the right price, and you can get it right now.
Scheduling Regular Cleanings and Necessary Procedures Will Prevent Future Problems
When it come to maintaining dental health, the most effective strategy is to see your dentist regularly. Although a cleaning is recommended every six months or so, everyone’s mouth is different. Depending upon your dental history and the condition of your teeth, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings.
There’s never been a better time to start exploring what types of dental insurance benefits are available to you. Life can toss all sorts of curve balls your way, which is why insurance will offer you some peace of mind. Whether it’s a chipped tooth from eating corn nuts or a sudden need for a root canal, all sorts of unexpected happenings can occur when it comes to your smile. Making sure that your insurance is taken care of will ease the bite from any unexpected dental expenses that may come your way.
Starting the New Year off with a Sensational Smile
Although it has been said frequently, it cannot be overstated: your smile is one of the very first things that people notice about your physical appearance. This new year provides an excellent opportunity to review how much attention you’ve been giving to your overall physical health, especially your gums. If you’re like most people, then it’s probably time to step up your game. Dental health can fall by the wayside sometimes, which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
As the months pass by, it becomes easier to let your dental health slip by for some more time. Before you know it, another year will have passed by and you’ll be frustrated that you didn’t research your dental care options earlier. Studies have shown that the most effective way to tackle a goal is to take some kind of action as soon as possible. Whether it’s talking to a friend about their insurance or getting online and looking up dental offices near you, resolve to take at least one small step towards finally putting your dental health in order. One year from now, you will be thrilled that you did.