The Origins of Cosmetic Dentistry and Where It Is Today

a young woman smilingIf you’re like most people, you might assume that cosmetic dentistry is a specialization that developed during the 20th century. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! With its origins dating back to ancient times, spend some time learning how this type of dentistry has evolved into what we know it as today.

Cosmetic Dentistry: It’s Origins

If you were alive during 700 B.C., you might have turned to ivory and bone if you lost all your teeth and needed dentures. These early human civilizations worked with the materials they had, which is why human and animal teeth were typically incorporated into these homemade prosthetics. Unfortunately, they were not too successful when it came to stability and functionality.

Early Egyptians turned to seashells to replace their missing teeth, hammering them into the jawbone; however, they didn’t fuse quite like titanium or zirconia does today. But these same individuals used gold dental crowns and bridges, and they made toothpaste out of vinegar and pumice stone, which helps to remove stains.

If it sounds as if these groups used unconventional methods to improve the look of their smiles, you’ll probably cringe when learning Ancient Romans used their own urine to remove tooth stains and as a mouthwash. Thank goodness this practice is no longer recognized.

From the Medieval Times to the 20 Century, many changes occurred in cosmetic dentistry. From barbers being responsible for teeth whitening, to the incorporation of porcelain being used to make dentures, to plastic and acrylics being the primary materials for many customized prosthetics and restorations, it’s interesting to see the progression throughout the centuries.

Today’s Cosmetic Dentistry

If you’re interested in the different services offered as part of cosmetic dentistry, you’ll be pleased to learn many of the methods used by early humans are no longer the norm. Yes, plastic and acrylic are still the primary materials used to create traditional dentures, but porcelain teeth are often the desired choice for artificial teeth. Not to mention, teeth whitening doesn’t involve urine. Instead, dentists now use bleaching agents that contain hydrogen peroxide and/or carbamide peroxide and a specializing curing light.

Tooth-colored composite fillings and direct bonding now replaced traditional amalgam fillings as well as gold or silver restorations. Also, dental implants are no longer made of seashells. Instead, they are titanium or zirconia posts that mimic the natural tooth root. These materials fused well with the bone and create a firm foundation of support for your new restoration.

Cosmetic dentistry is one of the most popular categories of treatment available to patients looking to transform their smiles. If you now feel more confident about your decision to choose veneers, teeth whitening, dental bonding, or even orthodontics, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for assistance.

About the Author
Dr. Kimberly Capua is a trusted dentist in Carrollton, Texas. Earning her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1989 from Baylor College of Dentistry, she and her team are committed to providing transformational cosmetic dental treatments in-house. No matter what you want to hide or change, we can offer the services you need to enter into the new year looking and feeling your best. Visit our website or call (972) 418-1811 let us help you.