September 13, 2023
Ever since people have figured out how to recognize their own reflections, they have been concerned about their appearance. People have used some form of cosmetic dentistry to whiten, straighten, and fill out their smiles for thousands of years, and you’ll be happy to know that modern technology allows dentists to make teeth prettier in far more clean, comfortable, and effective manners. Read on to learn about ancient cosmetic dental techniques and why you should be glad we no longer use them.
Cosmetic Dentistry in Ancient Civilizations
George Washington had a set of ivory teeth, but people were making dentures long before he was born. The Etruscans were making dentures out of materials such as ivory or bone and using components such as human and animal teeth. These human teeth were typically taken from the dead.
The Ancient Egyptians had their own methods for replacing teeth. They’d use gold to make dental crowns and bridges, but if you needed a single tooth replaced, they would sometimes just hammer a seashell into the empty socket. They would also use a paste made of vinegar and pumice stone to remove stains from their teeth.
The Ancient Romans, on the other hand, found that they had a readily available substance that could whiten their teeth. They would rinse their mouths with their own urine. While the ammonia in this all-natural solution would remove stains and bleach their teeth, modern mouthwash is considered much cleaner and makes your breath much fresher.
Medieval Teeth Whitening
In medieval Europe, dentistry was considered the job of the local barber. A popular treatment involved applying several coats of a special acid to the teeth. While this did have significant whitening effects, it also eroded the enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to injury and decay. They also experimented with using teeth from the dead as dental implants, but the body often rejected them.
As Materials Improved…
Things started improving dramatically in the 1700s when they started making dentures out of porcelain. In the early years of the 1900s, dentists started using acrylics and plastics as a practical and more affordable material for dental restorations. Acrylics are still used for dentures today.
Today, teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and cosmetic bonding are readily accessible to many people throughout the world. They are performed in safe and sanitary manners that use neither human urine nor teeth taken from dead people. Considering these advancements, there is no better time in history to seek out cosmetic dental procedures.
About the Author
Dr. Bita Kamali completed her dental doctorate at Baylor College of Dentistry in 2000. She firmly believes that continuing education is crucial to providing patients with the exceptional care they deserve and has completed additional education in fields such as Invisalign, cosmetic dentistry, veneers, and much more. Areas of expertise include preventive, restorative, emergency, and cosmetic dentistry such as teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, and cosmetic bonding. For more information about modern cosmetic dentistry, contact her Plano, TX office online or dial (972) 818-1300.