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The Evolution of Cosmetic Dentistry

March 15, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — drpettigrew @ 1:30 pm
person who underwent cosmetic dentistry smiling

From porcelain veneers to teeth whitening, there is no denying that cosmetic dentistry is a big part of contemporary living. In fact, in studies performed by the American Association of Orthodontists, nearly 90% of patients wanted to have their teeth whitened. Though cosmetic dentistry is widely available and a common way to improve one’s smile, it’s changed a lot over time. Read on to learn about how this collection of services has evolved to become what we are familiar with today.

Ancient Cosmetic Dentistry

The Etruscan people of ancient Italy made dentures from materials like ivory, bone, teeth from animals, and teeth from deceased people in 700 B.C. Ancient Egyptians also replaced missing teeth, but they used seashells as well as bridges and crowns crafted from gold. Ancient Romans, on the other hand, used urine to whiten their teeth. Though gross, it actually worked! This is because urine contains ammonia, which works as a bleaching agent. Fortunately, we now use methods that are both more effective and more sanitary to give smiles a more appealing glow.

Medieval Times

During this period, barbers wore two hats and also performed dental work. If a patient wanted to achieve a whiter smile, the barber would file down their teeth and then use a special coating. As you can imagine, this did a lot of damage to the tooth. People in Europe continued using ivory and bone to craft dentures, but they were uncomfortable to wear. They also tried once again to replace missing teeth with those from the deceased. Unfortunately, they were often rejected by the body.

The Age of Enlightenment

The 1700s are when the field of cosmetic dentistry began to see dramatic improvements. People were beginning to use porcelain for dentures, a material that’s still commonly used to craft them today. Even so, there were still some missteps along the way. During the 1800s, metal was placed into sockets of missing teeth to close the gaps. Just like with the teeth of the deceased, these metals were rejected by the body. During this time, dentists were also beginning to make dentures using plaster molds so that they would fit better.

20th Century and Modern Cosmetic Dentistry

It was in the 20th century when cosmetic dentistry really began to take off. The materials that were used for cosmetic treatments started changing at the start of the 1900s. Since porcelain was too expensive for most people, less costly materials like different kinds of plastics and acrylics were used to craft dentures and crowns. Acrylic is still a common material used to make dentures.

There was also beginning to be more of a focus put on making teeth look healthier and more visually appealing. To achieve this, treatments like teeth whitening and restorative procedures that offer visual benefits like dental implants and fillings were used. Additionally, though veneers were invented in the 1930s to temporarily improve the smiles of film stars, they later became longer-lasting and available to the general public.

Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way. If you’re ready to improve your smile, contact your dentist so you can achieve a more gorgeous set of pearly whites!

About the Practice

Dr. J. Lee Pettigrew and his Southlake team take pride in offering exceptional customer service and sensation dental treatments to their Texas residents. If you’re looking to give your smile an upgrade with cosmetic dentistry, they offer several treatments that can give you the beautiful beam you deserve. Call the dental office of J. Lee Pettigrew at (817) 481-4888 or visit their website for more information on their cosmetic dentistry offerings or to set up an appointment.

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