History of Cosmetic Dentistry By Dr. Scott Parr on June 29, 2021

Woman smiling in the mirror after receiving cosmetic dentistry treatmentsSince the earliest days of humankind, many people have tried to make their smiles appear more attractive. Today, we have entire dental clinics devoted to helping people achieve beautiful smiles with cosmetic dentistry.

At The Smile Center in Virginia Beach, VA, our dentists enhance the appearance of smiles with advanced cosmetic dentistry procedures. We provide orthodontics, whitening, and dental restorations to create healthier, more radiant smiles. Here, we discuss how far dental techniques have come along in this overview of the history of cosmetic dentistry.

2000 B.C.: Ancient Egyptian Oral Care

Ancient Egypt was famous for exceptional oral care that helped pave the way for restorative and cosmetic dentistry today. The mummified remains of Egyptians indicate a coarse diet. They consumed many raw fruits, vegetables, and starchy foods that caused a lot of wear and tear on the teeth.

Egyptian dentists treated oral ailments with their versions of fillings, antibacterial mouthwashes, jaw surgery, abscess removal, and gum treatments.

Egyptian dentists placed shells and ivory into the gum line as a form of early dental implants. They used gold wire and donated teeth to create dental bridges that replaced multiple teeth in a row.

1000 B.C.: Dazzling Smiles

The ancient Mayan civilization spreads vastly over Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The Mayans developed cosmetic dentistry skills for religious rituals. They meticulously carved stone inlays to fit in the socket of the front teeth. Mayans adorned these stone inlays with precious gems to create the world’s first “grills.”

Today, the Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City, Mexico, displays many complete skulls with colorful inlays.

700 B.C.: The World’s First Dentures

Dentures and dental crowns replace missing teeth to restore the smile. The Etruscans of modern-day Umbria and Tuscany, Italy, assembled the first dentures from organic material held together with a gold band. They harvested teeth for restorations from dead animals or human cadavers.

People used this type of denture practice until the 1800s. Our first president, George Washington, famously had dentures, not made of wood but ivory from an animal. There were many complaints of natural dentures rotting and smelling, so ceramic and acrylic dentures replaced them later on.

31 B.C.: Roman Whitening Treatments

When left out for an extended period, urine decomposes into ammonia-- a powerful cleaning agent that removes stains. The ancient Romans used the urine of animals and humans to create an oral rinse that whitened teeth.

1200 A.D.: Barbers Performed Dental Procedures

During medieval times, barbers did more than cut hair. Barbers performed dental treatments in Europe until the 1400s. Europeans of this time trusted barbers to whiten their teeth and perform dental surgeries. To whiten the teeth, barbers filed the enamel and coated the teeth with acid to make them appear brighter. This practice destroyed the integrity of teeth. Barbers also removed teeth (and often took pieces of attached jawbone with it) without anesthetic. 

Schedule a Cosmetic Consultation in Virginia Beach

Thankfully, the world of cosmetic dentistry has progressed over time. If you are interested in improving the way your smile looks with safe, sanitary, and skilled dentistry, call (757) 473-8482 or message us online to book an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in Virginia Beach.

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The Smile Center

The Smile Center

The Smile Center in Virginia Beach has been providing high-quality dental care since 1988. We are proud to be affiliated with:

  • American Academy of Facial Esthetics
  • The American Orthodontic Society
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry

For more information about our services, contact us online or call (757) 473-8482 today.

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