• Sheen Dental

2000 Years Of Dentistry- A Snapshot Of The Past, Present and Future

Here at Sheen Dental we’ve been successfully fitting dental implants in Richmond for many years and as such know how much of a difference that modern dentistry can bring. That said, oral problems have always been an issue for human beings right since the dawn of civilisation and the skulls of the Cro-Magnon people who roamed the earth around 25,000 years ago certainly showed evidence of tooth decay. In fact the earliest known reference to dental problems stems from around 5000 years ago when an ancient Sumarian text was found to state that a cause of  tooth decay was down to ‘dental worms’. As dentistry has come so far in the last Millennium, we thought that it would be fun to take a look into the past present and future.


From the middle ages right up until the 18th century dentistry as we know it was very primitive. In fact if you suffered with a bad tooth then you’d have to pay a visit to a so called ‘barber-surgeon’. These were basically ‘jack-of all-trade’ people who would perform surgery, cut hair, apply leeches and extract your teeth (albeit very painfully). Even to this day when you see the familiar red and white pole outside a barber’s shop, it harps back to these days.


By the late 17th century into the 19th century, dentists became more specialised and would remove diseased teeth and insert artificial dentures often carved from ivory or fashioned from cattle teeth. All of which were done with rudimentary tools such as a ratchet wrench known as a turnkey. They would also remove cavities with hand instruments as well as clean them with scrapers. In 1779 Humphrey Davy discovered the properties of nitrous oxide but it wasn’t until the 1840’s that it became a widely recognised form of dental pain relief.


Moving into the 20th century and human life expectancy virtually doubled. Much of this was down to vast changes in the overall quality of life. Positive impacts of dentistry include the invention of antibiotics, the X-ray, vaccines and fluoridation techniques. Finally in 1952 A Swedish orthopaedic surgeon known as Per Ingvar Branemark accidentally discovered osseointegration. This led to a ground-breaking form of tooth replacement known as the dental implant. In Richmond  here at Sheen Dental, although our implant techniques have been honed considerably we use the same tried and tested principles that he used to fit the first implants back in 1965.


Finally, what about the future?

Obviously it’s a bit more difficult to predict but greater computer assisted technology for all types of dental diagnosis and treatment is likely come to the fore. There is also scope for something known as gene-mediated therapeutics. This is said to be able to alter the overall genetic make-up of our teeth keeping them safe from decay.


If you want to find out how present day technology can help to deliver pain-free dental implants in Richmond then contact Dr Harmit Kalsi and his experienced team at Sheen Dental. Alternatively check out all the information at www.sheendental.co.uk to see just how we can bring back your smile and change your life.

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8.00 am - 5.00 pm

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Sheen Dental
152, Upper Richmond Road West
East Sheen
London SW14 8DP

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