How Far Has Cosmetic Dentistry Come?

drawing of historical dentures

It was only late last century that nearly all dental appointments were focused on oral health issues with cleanings and exams. Though this will always be a crucial part of the dental field, in recent years the elective procedures under the cosmetic dentistry umbrella continue to rise in popularity. Don’t get the impression that cosmetic dentistry just arrived on the scene, however, as it has been around for thousands of years. Keep reading to learn from your cosmetic dentist in Bonita Springs about some points in history and the progression this branch of dentistry has made.

Etruscans Start Cosmetic Dentistry with Bone Dentures

Turning back the clock, way back to 700 B.C., the Etruscans attempted to replace teeth with a variety of materials. Usually, dentures were constructed from materials like bone and ivory. Occasionally, they utilized teeth from deceased animals or humans.

Ancient Egyptians used seashells to replace their missing teeth. Crowns and bridges could be made using gold. As for teeth whitening, ancient Romans would use urine because the ammonia dissolved stains. Historians believe it was more typically used as a mouthwash and apologies if that tidbit was a TMI situation.

The Barber Was the Dentist in the Middle Ages

Dentistry was performed by a barber in the Middle Ages. They would file down teeth and use a special coating to make them whiter. Unfortunately, this would destroy the enamel of the teeth and eventually cause tooth loss. Stick to cutting hair, please.

Europeans rediscovered the lost practices of using bone or ivory as dentures, which wasn’t the most comfortable method as you can imagine. They also brought back using human teeth from dead bodies, but the patient’s body often rejected the new teeth.

Porcelain Dentures Catch on in the 1700s

Cosmetic dentistry took a dramatic turn for the better in the 1700s when porcelain began to be used for dentures. When the 1800s arrived, metals caught on briefly to be placed in the sockets of missing teeth, but the human body rejected them like they did not accept the teeth of the deceased. Porcelain continued to gain in popularity, as dentists began to use molds with plaster to ensure the dentures fit better.

Economics Lead to Plastic Crowns in the Early 1900s

The materials dentists used in dentures changed almost as soon as the 1900s began. Porcelain dental crowns were not the most economical, so as soon as the dental industry was able to, they switched to plastics and acrylics. Some changes stick, considering that acrylics are still used in modern dentures.

The 1980s Had Massive Impact on Modern-Day Cosmetic Dentistry

The 1900s saw the focus on creating beautiful, natural-looking teeth rise to new heights. Check out some of today’s popular treatments and their notable dates in the previous century:

  • Teeth Whitening: Dentists experimented with the pairing of hydrogen peroxide and a bleaching light in the 1900s, but it didn’t yield results until two dentists started using carbamide peroxide as a whitening agent in 1989. Laser dentistry was invented in the 1960s and was primarily used to treat gum disease until 1996 when the FDA approved a dental laser for whitening.
  • Composite Restorations and Bonding: Dental bonding has made a lot of progress over the last century. A white tooth filling material was invented in the 1950s along with an acid etch technique that increased adhesion between fillings and enamel. It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that more permanent bonding was developed for patients.
  • Veneers: They were invented in the 1930s as a temporary fix for film stars, but they were held on by dental adhesive and would fall off after a brief time. Once again, the 1980s were key as a new technique emerged to allow dentists to bond porcelain veneers to teeth.

Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way from using seashells for tooth replacement and urine for teeth whitening. Oops, no one wants that brought back up. Anyhow, there are a variety of options for you to take your smile to new heights. Schedule a consultation with your cosmetic dentist in Bonita Springs to get started!

About the Practice

At Pelican Landing Dental, we strive to provide comprehensive, personalized services. You can expect honesty from our staff as well as great customer service. With six dentists on staff, we have a lot of skilled individuals ready to help your smile. Be sure to ask about our special offer for new patients. If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in Bonita Springs, we offer porcelain veneers, metal-free restorations, direct bonding, and teeth whitening. Schedule a cosmetic consultation on our website or by calling (239) 948-2111.