19th Century Dental Milestones

In the 1800s, dental technology started to take a turn for the better. Here is a timeline of some of the most notable dental events of the 19th century that helped shape the advancement of modern dental treatment and technology:

19th Century Dental Timeline

1801 — Richard C. Skinner wrote the first dental book, Treatise on the Human Teeth, to be published in the United States.

5 ascending stacks of silver coins, what dental fillings were made of in the 19th century

1816 — Auguste Taveau invented the first dental fillings. These fillings were made from silver coins and mercury.
1825 — Samuel Stockton began the commercial manufacturing of porcelain teeth. His company was called White Dental Manufacturing Company. They established and dominated the dental market during the 19th century.
1832 — James Snell invented the first reclining chair.
1839 — Charles Goodyear discovered vulcanized rubber. This led to denture bases becoming more affordable. They were previously made out of gold.

A red and yellow apple sits atop a small stack of old books against a chalkboard

1840 — Thomas Morton was the first to demonstrate the use of anesthesia for dental surgery. Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris founded the world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery and established the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
1864 — Sanford C. Barnum developed the rubber dam. This helped isolate the tooth from the oral cavity.
1870s —Larger cavities began being filled with baked porcelain inlays. James Beall Morrison patented the first mechanical dental drill. Unfortunately, it was extremely slow and a filling would take hours to complete.
1890s — Willoughby Miller is the first to describe the microbial basis of dental cavities in his book Micro-Organisms of the Human Mouth. This raised awareness for cavity prevention and helped oral care companies begin their marketing for at-home oral health products.

Black and white panoramic dental X-ray showing the teeth of an adult

1896 — Edmund Kells adapted Wilhelm Roentgen’s X-ray for dental needs, and Washington Wentworth Sheffield invented the first toothpaste tube.

Our Modern-Day Technology

Because of these individuals, and those during the last 100 years, we have seen even greater advancements in at-home dental hygiene, in-office dental procedures and treatments, and dental technology. We are grateful for those who came before us that introduced their inventions and advocated for improvements in the field of dentistry! Come check out our high-quality dental care and advanced technology at our comfortable practice, Rigby Advanced Dental, in The Offices at The Hill Country Galleria. Contact us to schedule your next checkup and cleaning.

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