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Four Inventions

Medical history is inseparable from the evolution of human culture. It developed according to the intrinsic laws that govern all directions of the study of the surrounding world. In the past, doctor had to abide by religious dogma. However, the subsequent development of medical practice was influenced by the great scientific discoveries. There is a great number of inventions that influenced all spheres of medicine, and oral medicine is not an exception. Modern dentistry possesses cutting edge techniques for the treatment of oral cavities and teeth. These methods make treatments as comfortable and effective as possible for patients because if it were not for the scientific developments in this area, dentistry would not be at the stage of development it currently is.

Invention of Anesthesia

From time immemorial, people dreamed of alleviating pain. There were efforts to prevent people from suffering even in the ancient world. Nonetheless, the methods which healers tried to use were savage if one were to consider them from the perspective of modern standards (Barash, Cullen, Stoelting, Cahalan, & Stock, 2009). They included such methods as stiffening the limbs, hitting the subject’s head, bleeding to the point of anemia of the brain, and others (Barash et al., 2009). Doctors applied these brutal methods to reduce the pain sensitivity of their patients.

Considering the facts mentioned above, it is easy to conclude that the medical field was in need of a reliable source of anesthesia, because it could improve the chances of recovery after surgery. In the XVI century, Paracelsus made discovered that diethyl ether could be used as an anesthetic, but the doctor’s achievements were forgotten for more than 200 years after his death (McLoughlin, 2011). In 1799, a famous physicist and chemist Humphry Davy proposed nitrous oxide as a source of anesthesia (McLoughlin, 2011). It is the so-called fun gas, which induces a feeling of euphoria in the patient and provides an analgesic effect. Nonetheless, this method did not find support among other doctors. In 1845, Dr. Horace Wells decided to perform an experiment and remove the person’s tooth with the application of nitrous oxide (McLoughlin, 2011). The dentist started using the method in his clinic, but soon failed, because the patients woke up during the operation due to a violation of gas supply.  William Morton, who was a student of Wells, was the person who developed diethyl alcohol as a strong anesthetic after numerous experiments on fellow dentists and animals. Morton first applied this technique to remove teeth in 1846 (McLoughlin, 2011). This year is considered to be iconic for dentistry, because it was the year of presentation of anesthesia.

Dental Drill

The invention of dental drills is another significant discovery in the area of dentistry. Archeologists have found the remains of people with round holes in their teeth at excavations in Eastern Eurasia and South America, which led them to a theory that ropes stretched in certain ways or hand movements served as analogues of the modern drill (Van Noort, 2014). The ancient versions of the invention were made from various materials, such as jade or copper. Cornelius Solingen, a famous surgeon, invented the first modern manual boron in the XVII century (Van Noort, 2014). It consisted of a long kernel with a head and a faceted handle and rotated with the help of the doctor’s fingers. Doctors applied this manual boron to treat teeth until the XIX century (Van Noort, 2014). This device was extremely inconvenient to use, so an American doctor invented a ring with a sleeve worn on the forefinger that protected the doctor’s hand. 

The invention of the pedal drill with a foot drive led to a revolution in dentistry. John Greenwood created the first primitive prototype of this device in 1790 (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). He was a personal doctor of the US President George Washington. The dentist used a foot drive from his mother’s spinning wheel to rotate the drill (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). It soon became rather popular among other dentists. However, it was an American physician James Morrison who invented an improved version in 1871 and patented it (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). This device freed the doctor’s hands for necessary manipulations, though it was not its major advantage. It reached the rotation speed of 2000 rpm, which was 20 times faster than the best hand drills of the time (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). This allowed one to dissect hard tooth tissue more efficiently, reducing the unpleasant and painful feelings the the patient experiences. Consequently, the quality of dental care increased. In a little while, another American doctor constructed the first electric drill, but other dentists did not meet the invention with great enthusiasm, as it depended on unreliable batteries and was extremely cumbersome (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). Since then, dental drills have been supplemented by other innovations such as pneumatic actuators.

Simulator for Students

A simulator for students is regarded as one of the most significant scientific developments in the field. Until the XIX century, future dentists studied the techniques of teeth restoration on separate devices fastened by holders (Owen, 2016). It was highly inconvenient to work with such teeth and many dentists did not know what to do when they began to practice on real patients. Edward Oswald Fergus changed the practice in 1849 when he introduced his iconic invention (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). The technology proposed by the doctor made it possible to estimate the state of the oral cavity visually and not practice on real patients, which simplified the work in the field of dentistry substantially (Masri & Driscoll, 2015). Dentists used the teeth removed from patients to construct such devices. This invention was the start of a new era in medical practice.

Prosthetics of Teeth

The discovery of teeth prosthetics was another significant development for the field of dentistry. This technology has an extremely long history. The first attempts to create dental prosthetics go back to the VI century BCE (Phulari, 2013). For instance, archaeologists found a skull with an implant intended to restore the root of the tooth, made from a mussel shel (Phulari, 2013). It is necessary to note that first prosthetics emerged later than first teeth implants. When archaeologists excavated the Etruscan city of Tarquinia, they found a set of remains with a prosthesis substituting several teeth in succession (Phulari, 2013). It was afixed with gold rings to healthy teeth. An arab surgeon Abul-Kasim was the first to discover teeth restoration in the East (Phulari, 2013). The surgeon reasoned that prosthetics was a medical science, because it helped restore teeth, correct the physical defect, and treat diseases. Furthermore, doctors from ancient Rome attempted to develop a structure for teeth restoration, which can be proven by the scientific works of jewelers and barbers who made progress in the field (Phulari, 2013). Despite certain developments, the installation of artificial teeth was inaccessible to the majority of people for many centuries.

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Modern dentures are considered to be a XVIII century discovery. The dentist of King Louis XV Pierre Foshar described his inventions in the book Dentist-Surgeon or Treatise on Teeth (Becker & Turfa, 2017). One or several connected teeth were fastened to a spring or wire made of gold or silver. It was a prototype of modern removable prostheses. Additionally, the doctor developed a pin to strengthen the root of the tooth. The dentist combined several crowns and, thus, the first dental bridges emerged (Becker & Turfa, 2017).  Pierre Foshar likewise proposed to cover sick teeth with gold crowns and use porcelain lining under the natural color of people’s teeth, which was a significant contribution to dentistry.

The second half of the XIX century is considered to be the start of dynamic development of dental prosthetics, modern dentures started emerging and improving at the time (Becker & Turfa, 2017). A great number of practicing dentists and researchers presented their discoveries in this sphere, such as ceramic dental crowns and soft prostheses without metal hooks. In the first half of the XX century, first professional dentictry institutes began to appear (Becker & Turfa, 2017). Since that time, doctors that engaged in prosthetics have been called orthopedic dentists. In addition, in the XX century, computer technology was  applied to actively facilitate the work of dentists (Becker & Turfa, 2017). Modern dental practice is extremely multifaceted and diverse, so people can receiveany kind of care, including prosthetics, that they require.

As long as dental pain and diseases exist, doctors will be needed to deal with them. New technological developments in the sphere of treatment without pain that allow people to get rid of dental problems. In its modern form, Dentistry itself formed quite recently in its modern form, though it is one of the oldest fields of medicine and its history dates back to ancient times. Archaeologists frequently find skulls with dentures or drilled teeth at the sites of excavations. It proves that ancient people made attempts to heal teeth. Nevertheless, the most significant inventions in the field appeared in the XVIII-XX centuries. These inventions laid the foundation for modern methods of dental treatment.

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