Model tooth pictured with dentistry tools. Pediatric dentistry concept.

A Brief History of Dental Care

A Historic Practice

The history of kids’ tooth care, or that of adults’, goes back thousands of years. The dentists who work at Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry are the latest in a long line of professionals who used to practice dentistry in all types of places throughout history, such as barbershops and morgues.

The earliest known practice of dentistry took place nearly 10,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age, in Southern Asia. Because written records from that time are virtually non-existent, the first manuscripts we have of dental instructions wouldn’t appear for a few more millennia, where the learned men of the day wrote of everything from plaque to cavities. Of course, their explanations may seem funny to us today (they thought the holes in their teeth were caused by worms that chomped through their enamel-like a worm through an apple), it’s impressive to see how seriously they took their oral health and how they tried to practice good hygiene.

Dentistry would only become more and more important over the years as civilizations became more advanced and people took an increasing interest in the way their teeth looked and felt. This would culminate in the publication of the very first book on oral health in the 16th century.

Modern Dentistry Emerges

In many ways, the children of Utah owe their dental care to an 18th century Frenchman named Pierre Fauchard. Often referred to as The Father of Dentistry, he compiled all the ideas that had been floating around for centuries and wrote a definitive text on how to care for your teeth. In it, he proposed much of the knowledge and practices that we still cling to today, such as:

  • Dentures, or general teeth replacement
  • Sugar’s role in creating cavities
  • Debunking the mouth-worm theory
  • Dental fillings
  • Braces
  • The anatomy of the tooth 

In addition to all the factual knowledge, he was able to bring forward, he was also a pioneer in the actual art of healthcare; that is to say, he wrote about creating positive relationships between doctors and patients and even how the physician’s office should be laid out. Now, when your children come to Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry for a check-up, they will be greeted by a friendly staff in a comfortable building; this all had its beginnings with Fauchard.

Open Wide

By the 19th Century, dentistry was a fully-fledged profession around the world, with clinics popping up across the country and books of all sorts being published. Perhaps there was no better indication that pediatric dentistry (and dentistry as a whole) had become “legitimized” than with the establishment of dental colleges across the US and the formation of the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1859.

Today, the ADA’s mission is broad in scope, including actions to:

  • Provide education to kids about proper tooth care
  • Advocate in Washington DC for dental care legislation
  • Help aspiring dentists to prepare for and pass their exams
  • Publish new medical findings and help the country stay informed

If your Utah children need dental care then there is no better place to take them than Timpanogos Pediatric Dentistry. Our experienced dentists have built upon the knowledge and best practices of all that came before them in the rich history of dentistry. Contact us today for an appointment.


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25 North 1100 East

American Fork, UT 84003

(801) 207-9080

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