Cosmetic Dentistry Through the Ages

Close-up of a blonde woman’s white, perfect smile

Cosmetic dentistry in Northgate is considered a relatively new field. It wasn’t until the 1980s (when dental cement was introduced) that dentists really started focusing on the appearance of the teeth in addition to keeping them healthy. But that’s not to say that people haven’t been trying numerous ways to improve the appearances of their smiles over the years. Below, you’ll find a few notable examples of cosmetic dental practices during different periods of history.

Ancient Times

Different cultures had their owns tricks for making smiles look brighter and healthier. For instance, the Etruscans made dentures with real teeth taken from dead humans and animals. The Ancient Egyptians elected to use seashells to replace teeth. They would also use a special toothpaste made from pumice stone and vinegar to get rid of stains. When it comes to unusual methods of teeth-whitening, however, the Ancient Romans may have had the most unconventional approach: rinsing their mouths with their own urine. Apparently, the ammonia that urine contains was effective in breaking apart stain particles. (Of course, nowadays you have far more effective – and more hygienic – whitening options to choose from!)

Medieval Times

Back in the middle ages, when dentistry was often performed by barbers, a special coat was used to try and make the teeth look whiter. Unfortunately, this coat was often damaging to the enamel, meaning it did more harm than good. At this time, Europeans had rediscovered the ancient practice of using bone and ivory to make dentures, but this tended to make for very uncomfortable grins.

Age of Enlightenment

Around the 1700s, porcelain started being used to make dentures, allowing people suffering from tooth loss to enjoy durable, lifelike smiles. As porcelain teeth began to grow in popularity, dentists started using molds with plaster in order to design dentures, allowing for a more perfect fit.

The 20th Century

Around the turn of the century, porcelain dentures and crowns stopped being an economical option. As such, dentists turned to plastics and acrylics as aesthetically friendly options. Today, acrylic is still being used to make beautiful dentures that sit comfortably on the gums.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the 20th century is when cosmetic dentistry really got its start. This was the time period that saw the introduction of cosmetic services that are still used to this day, including:

  • Teeth whitening that employs hydrogen peroxide to penetrate the enamel and break up stains under the surface
  • Composite fillings and bonding that blend right in with the natural tooth
  • Dental veneers that hide numerous flaws at once
  • Image-friendly tooth replacements such as dental implants

When you look at the history of cosmetic dentistry as a whole, you can get a feel for just how far we’ve come. Get in touch with your dentist in Northgate today to ask about the advanced techniques they can use to create your ideal smile!

About the Author

Dr. Amin Tabatabaian sticks to the cornerstones of commitment, integrity, and genuine care when it comes to the treatments he offers at his family practice, Oak Tree Dental Care. He is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and can offer a variety of solutions for anyone dissatisfied with the appearance of their smiles. To schedule a consultation with him, visit his website or call (972) 414-2300.

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