Who Invented What in Dentistry

Dentistry is filled with numerous inventions that have helped further its achievement in promoting effective oral care. The inventions of equipment and procedures trace the history of dentistry back thousands of years. This shows that concern for oral health is not a modern event but something even ancient people were grappling with.


Tooth Brush

The toothbrush was first invented by the Chinese long ago where they used the hair found on pigs’ neck as bristles. The toothbrush has been modified since then with the first mass produced toothbrush hitting the market in England and was created by William Addis. The electric toothbrush was invented in 1939 in Switzerland.



The invention of toothpaste goes as far back as 500 B.C. and was used in India and China. Modern toothpastes were first created in 1800s with Dr. Peabody being the first to use soap as part of the ingredient of toothpaste. Modifications of the content of toothpaste have continued to evolve. Advancement in technology has seen the use of synthetic soaps and addition of fluoride. It has also seen the change in packaging from toothpaste in a jar to use of collapsible tubes which were introduced in 1892 by Dr. Washington Sheffield.

Dental Floss

Use of dental floss and toothpicks can be traced back to prehistoric civilizations. The invention of modern floss is attributed to Levi Spear Parmly in 1815 who promoted the use of a silk thread. Dental floss has seen evolved to use of nylon as opposed to silk for flossing.



Although signs of toothpicks used are seen in prehistoric times, the modern invention of toothpicks go to Silas Noble and J. P. Cooley who patented the first toothpick making machine in 1872.


Dental Filling

The French dentists are credited with the use of mercury dental fillings in the early 1800s.  Arculanus was the first to advocate for use of gold leaf filling in 1848.


Dentist’s Drill & Chair

The first dentist drill was patented in 1875 by George Green while the dentist’s chair is credited to Waldo Hanchett in 1848.


False Teeth & Use of Pain Killers

Installing false teeth is an ancient practice that goes back to 700 B.C. Here false teeth were designed from ivory and bone which were then held in place by gold bridgework. The Chinese used acupuncture from around 2700 B.C to treat tooth pain. The use of cocaine as an anaesthetic was introduced in 1884. Novocain was created in 1905 by Alfred Einkorn.

Posted by: Admin Admin on 12/5/2014
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