The History of Dentistry and What’s Ahead | Columbia SC Dentist

What did ancient civilizations think about oral health? How did they treat dental problems? Read on and  see how very far dentistry has come in terms of knowledge, safety and comfort. You will be glad you live  in the present day.  

Dentistry in Ancient Times 

Dentistry in its crudest form predates written language. Archaeologists have seen evidence of teeth being  cleaned, scraped and even drilled and filled as far as 9,000 years ago. Tooth decay was somewhat rare  before agricultural societies introduced sugar and grains (carbohydrates) into the diet.  

The ancient Sumerians, who lived 5,000 B.C.E. in what is now southern Iraq, blamed tooth decay on  “tooth worms.” They thought some type of worm bore holes in teeth. The Chinese used acupuncture to  treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E., while Egyptians had actual doctors for  teeth and practiced a type of orthodontics using animal intestine tension wires.  

In 500 B.C.E., Greek philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by  using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize  jaw fractures and bind loose teeth.  

Treating Teeth in the 1600s-1700s 

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a time of great dental  innovation. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first English language dental textbook entitled The  Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog teeth for  transplants. He also references wisdom teeth. 

In the 1700s, Frenchman Pierre Fauchard became a subject matter expert with his book, The Surgeon  Dentist. For the first time, it described dentistry as a separate, modern profession. Some notable  highlights in the book include sugar being a cause of tooth decay, orthodontics used to straighten teeth,  and the concept of a dentist’s chair light.  

1800s – the Progressive Age of Dentistry 

The 19th century saw many inventions and discovered that advanced dental science closer to the modern  era. In 1816, Auguste Taveau of France developed the first amalgam dental fillings made from silver  coins and mercury. In 1840s America, Horace Wells showed how nitrous oxide could sedate patients  while William T.G. Morton developed the use of ether as an anesthesia. 

Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing  the modern doctor of dental surgery degree and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s,  porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented.  

Dental Advancements of the 20th Century

The scientific development of the 1900s gave rise to some amazing advancements in the dental industry.  The invention of electricity led to electric drills. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax”  casting machine was invented to fill caries, and the anesthetic Novocaine was introduced into US dental  offices. 

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described a method of tooth bonding to repair cracked tooth enamel. Years  later, the first fully reclining dental chair was introduced to put patients and dentists at ease. In 1997,  “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system.  

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold? 

Gene therapy, including a technology called CRISPR, may one day make it possible to switch off the  function of bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. Researchers at Harvard are studying stem cell laden fillings that could regrow tooth dentin. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but  our Columbia SC dentist is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise.  

Schedule your visit to Diamond Dental Studio and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

5 Things People Don’t Understand About Dental Health | Columbia SC Dentist

Do you have misconceptions about oral health? Many people do. Knowing the facts can help improve  your dental hygiene for life, leading to a healthier and more beautiful smile. Here are five things people  don’t understand about dental health. See if your eyes are opened.  

Misconception #1 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth 

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or  decay between the teeth. Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be  naturally on the whiter side. Proper brushing, more regular cleanings, and cosmetic dentistry (such as  tooth whitening and veneers) are possible solutions you can explore with our dentist.  

Misconception #2 – Children are more prone to tooth decay 

Tooth decay (cavities, or caries, in dental parlance) can develop at any age. People assume children are  more prone to decay because of poor brushing and flossing habits. While that may be true, caries form in  all people the same way: when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay  forms a hole in the tooth.  

Misconception #3 – My teeth are fine if they don’t hurt 

Tooth decay typically doesn’t cause pain until it becomes very severe. Once it gets to a critical stage, the  amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous mouth  disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. That is why it is  important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at the  earliest stages when there is no discomfort. 

Misconception #4 – Tooth decay is only caused by sweets 

Do you love sugary food and drinks? So do the bacteria that live in your mouth! They consume it and  produce acid. This acid works to dissolve tooth enamel, which can result in decay. However, it’s important  to know that this is not only true of sugar; it applies to anything containing starch or carbohydrates. Food  such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta have the same effect on your teeth.  The solution: Brush and floss after meals and snacks, or rinse well with water if you can’t brush. 

Misconception #5 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing 

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame  your gums due to inefficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and  should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such  cases, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss. 

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception. It is important to  practice good oral hygiene habits. If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact Diamond Dental Studio and make an appointment with our Columbia dentist today. 

Diamond Dental Studio of Forest Acres Columbia
Phone: (803) 738-1114
3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

We Are Here For You

Dr. Julia K. Mikell
Solo Practitioner

3261 Harrison Rd.
Columbia, SC 29204

(We are easy to find in Forest Acres at the corner of Harrison Rd. and Budon Ct., near the Zesto’s on Forest Drive.)

(803) 738-1114

Providing Dental Care
For Many Communities Including:

Forest Acres, Fort Jackson, Arcadia Lakes, Lake Katherine, Heathwood, Shandon, Rosewood, Downtown Columbia, Earlewood, Cottontown and the University of South Carolina

Hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 8:30 AM - 5 PM
Friday: Closed


  • South Carolina State Dental
  • America Dental Association
  • America Dental Association

Dentist in Columbia, SC

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Dentist in Columbia, SC

“My husband and I had our 1st appointment with Dr. Mikell today and we left there feeling like we absolutely made the right choice! She and her staff were professional, kind, competent, and very respectful to us. We feel like this was a fabulous start to a long and happy relationship!”

Erica R. Columbia, SC Dental Patient

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