Industry News

Blocking Yeast-Bacteria Interaction May Prevent Early Childhood Caries

Blocking Yeast-Bacteria Interaction May Prevent Early Childhood Caries

23 June 2017

Candida albicans, a type of yeast, takes advantage of an enzyme produced by Streptococcus mutans...


May 2017

The Dentist’s Guide
To Managing Employees

Download Now!

April 2017

Composite Vs. Porcelain’s:
What You Need To Know

Download Now!

March 2017

Digital Marketing for Dentists

Download Now!

February 2017

Traumatic Dental Injuries: Emergency Assessment And Treatment

Download Now!

Recent Issues

June 2017

Digital Technologies: Changing the Face of Dentistry


May 2017

Solving Aesthetic Challenges From Trauma-Based Injuries


Exhibition probes history of dentistry

People who hate going to the dentist can get an idea of the real horrors of dental treatment in times gone by at an exhibition in Zurich.

Until the 18th century if you needed a tooth pulled you went to the blacksmith or barber who would yank it out—or try to with a pair of pliers. Things have moved on considerably since then, but for many people fear of the dentist remains.

An exhibition at Zurich University’s Museum of the History of Medicine, entitled “With Bite—Stories of Dental Medicine,” presents ordinary cultural experiences in the context of the development of dentistry down the ages.

“Painful dental treatments have always been a popular subject in graphic art,” says a panel in the exhibition. “These illustrations of brutal treatment methods and physical pain still influence our idea of historic dental treatment today.”

For centuries, the painful pulling of teeth was a major theme. Then, in the middle of the 20th century, such treatment methods as the drill and fillings, which people also found terrifying, joined the list.

The dentist has long been the butt of cartoons and jokes. Huge forceps, drills and needles are often shown as instruments of torture.

“Do you extract teeth painlessly?” asks the patient. “Usually,” answers the dentist. “I’ve only once dislocated my wrist.”

Just one of the old dentist jokes, still being told, which reflects the common anxiety about the profession.

Zurich leads the way

For centuries the main way to treat a painful tooth was to pull it or break it off. Old forceps, dental keys and hooks provide a vivid explanation of these rather brutal methods of extraction.

But at the same time, the use of artificial teeth to replace those that have fallen out or been extracted also has a long history.

Techniques enabling patients to keep their teeth—drilling, fillings, root treatment—are much more recent, going back just over a century.

The first colleges of dentistry that awarded the title of doctor were established in the United States in the 1840s. Large numbers of Swiss dentists went to train there.

In Switzerland, legislation was passed in 1888 making it obligatory for anyone practicing dentistry to have an academic training. Zurich University was the first state institution in the world to offer a doctoral degree in dental medicine.

“Tooth aunties”

A survey of nearly 2,000 children in Zurich in 1901 found that almost 90 percent of them were suffering from tooth decay. This led to the founding of the first school dental clinics in Zurich and Lucerne in 1908, based on the model of first one in Strasbourg, the pioneer in Europe.

Since then free examination and treatment has been available to all children and teenagers. School dental services were expanded in the 1950s and 60s. From 1961, dental care instructors started to visit schools to teach children about regular teeth cleaning and healthy nutrition. They were known in German as “Zahntanten,” or “tooth aunties” and were mainly housewives.

Beauty treatment

There are now people in Switzerland who want to try out something new, Margrit Wyder of the History of Medicine Museum at Zurich University, told Tooth replacements are trendy.

“It is a bit more expensive, but people have the feeling that they will last longer,” she sauid. “But if you want something cheap, you go to Hungary or Germany.”

The fashion today is plastic surgery for teeth. Since tooth decay is much less common now than it used to be, dentists are looking for new areas of activity.

“We people today attach a lot of importance to the way we look. It even plays a role when you are looking for a job. So this is a trend that can’t be stopped,” Wyder said. “The most we can do is to try to ensure that excesses are kept in check.”

The Wednesday Watch

Exclusive Interview: Patient Education and GentleWave

Exclusive Interview: Patient Education and GentleWave

21 June 2017

Patients are becoming more educated, as a world of information is readily available at our...

Technique of the Week

e-Prescribing with XLDent

e-Prescribing with XLDent

29 March 2017

Drs. David Andersen and Lora Nelson explain how easy e-Prescribing...

Technology Today

Show Me the Way

Show Me the Way

02 May 2017

This year’s International Dental Show did not disappoint: 155,000 participants from 157 countries attended,...

Implants Today

Narrow-Body  Dental Implants

Narrow-Body Dental Implants

02 May 2017

As the multibillion-dollar market for dental implants grows, many new companies are entering the...

Quick Technique

Dentsply Sirona’s recently introduced Aquasil Ultra+ Smart Wetting Impression Material…
Figure 1. Almost everyone would love to have a whiter…
INTRODUCTION Today’s core build-up materials have been part of the…
The canal system within teeth is a complex array of…
Dentsply Sirona’s New Self-Adhesive Resin Cement Features a Wide Tack-Cure…
Introduction In this article, I describe a technique for cementation…
The Uveneer System (Ultradent Products) is a clear template kit…
Patients often avoid dental care due to the perceived pain…

Dentistry Today is The Nation's Leading Clinical News Magazine for Dentists. Here you can get the latest dental news from the whole world quickly.