Our idea of dentistry today first started blossoming around the year 1650. From this time until the early l800s, modern dentistry became a globally accepted movement toward acknowledging dentists as doctors and surgeons. Pierre Fauchard, known to most as the Father of Dentistry, began his dental journey to become the most influential dental surgeon after joining the Navy.
A 15 Year Old Boy’s Dream
At 15 years old, Pierre Fauchard joined the Navy despite his family’s plea to stay home. From 1693 to 1696, he was taken under the wing of surgeon major Alexander Poteleret, who specifically studied dental organ diseases. In his time with Poteleret, Fauchard experienced many cases of scurvy and other life threatening dental illnesses. He spent much of his time reading everything there was to know about dentistry and learned enough to open his own practice upon his return.
His First Practice
Fauchard returned to France in 1696 and opened up his first practice at the Angers, a French University. He claimed himself to be “Chirurgien Dentiste,” in English “surgeon dentist,” and referred to his dentist employees as “dentateurs.” Their most common practice were tooth extractions, but as his practice and knowledge grew, Fauchard filled cavities (previously called caries) and removed tartar from teeth as well as benign tumors from gums of patients. At the university, he discovered how to create prosthetic teeth that work as well as natural teeth using ivory or bone. The new teeth were connected to previous decayed teeth after a thorough cleaning using gold wires that he claimed to last 15 – 20 years, much like gold crowns today!
Expanding His Influence
From 1716 to 1718, Fauchard travelled all across France to study other surgeons and share his expertise with patients who requested him across the country. In 1718, he moved to Paris after officially claiming the title of the best, most experienced and knowledgeable dentist to date. He wrote his most famous book, “Le Chirurgien Dentiste” in 1728 as a response to his realization that there was a lack of official dental education. Considered the first dental textbook, Le Chirurgien Dentiste consisted of two volumes which touched on basic oral education as well as multiple case studies of his own work over the years.
His Famous Discoveries
Many common things we know now, were complete speculation until Fauchard stepped into the spotlight to confirm the myths of oral hygiene. Check out these quick facts he solved while becoming the “father of dentistry.”
- Sugar destroys your gums and teeth.
- Contrary to popular belief, baby teeth do have roots as adult teeth and fall out for other reasons.
- Lead, tin and gold can be used to fill cavities after they are cleaned out in order to avoid future decay.
- Fauchard was the first to wrap wire around a patient’s teeth in order to straighten them. He also discovered that this method was much more successful in younger patients because their roots still have time to grow and therefore can mold into place easier.
- He was the first to suggest dental chairs as opposed to the previous method of laying on the floor with your head in the dentist’s lap.
Dentistry has come a long way since the early 1700s, but without Fauchard’s dedication to spreading the knowledge of oral health, we may still be swishing our mouths with urine as an acceptable way of cleaning. Thankfully, the staff at Sugarland Dental Spa has taken Fauchard’s advice to heart. If you are looking for a modern dentist to take care of your family’s oral hygiene, contact Sugarland Dental Spa in the Houston, Texas area to set up an appointment today.