Celebrating the science behind the smiles

It is an opportunity to remember the efforts of all those scholars and scientists throughout the history of mankind
"By taking care of our teeth and gums, we can help prevent these and other health problems." [Image for representational purpose only.]
"By taking care of our teeth and gums, we can help prevent these and other health problems." [Image for representational purpose only.]Source: Flickr


On March 6th every year, people all around the world come together to celebrate Dentist's Day. This day is dedicated to honouring the important work of dentists and their contributions to our overall health and wellbeing.

Dentists are healthcare professionals who specialise in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions. They play a critical role in maintaining our oral health, which in turn affects our overall health.

Poor oral health can lead to a range of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.

By taking care of our teeth and gums, we can help prevent these and other health problems.

Dentist's Day is an opportunity to recognize and thank dentists for their important work. It's also a chance to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and to encourage people to take better care of their teeth and gums.

Dentist's day is an opportunity to remember the efforts of all those scholars and scientists throughout the history of mankind. Taking a look back at the history, Dentistry has been one of the oldest medical professions, dating back to 7000 B.C. with the Indus Valley Civilization.

However, it wasn’t until 5000 B.C. that descriptions related to dentistry and tooth decay were available.  Ancient Greek scholars Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about dentistry, including the eruption pattern of teeth, treating decayed teeth and gum disease, extracting teeth with forceps, and using wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws. During 166-201 AD, the Etruscans practiced dental prosthetics using gold crowns and fixed bridgework.

During the Islamic Golden Age Dentistry was discussed in several famous books of medicine such as The Canon in Medicine written by Avicenna and Al-Tasreef by Al-Zahrawi who is considered the greatest surgeon of the Middle Ages. Avicenna said that jaw fracture should be reduced according to the occlusal guidance of the teeth; this principle is still valid in modern times.

Al-Zahrawi invented over 200 surgical tools that resemble the modern kind. Rhazes (or more precisely, Abu Bekr Muhammed ben Zacarjaer Rhazi) stressed upon the need to exhaust every method to cure the teeth before extracting it, hence propagating conservation of tooth structure. To prevent spread of caries; cavities were filled with a cement made of mastic and alum, which is a laudable attempt at stopping progress of tooth decay.

Ali Abbas in eighth century AD, a Persian physician wrote about diseases of the tooth and explains the treatment of a periapical lesion by introducing hot needles into the tooth repeatedly until they become cool, thus building the foundations of modern day root canal treatments.

Similarly throughout the ages numerous researchers among our predecessors have laid the foundations upon which modern science of dentistry has been built.

The importance and value of dental art and science as a humane service are well recognized, but we are so accustomed to view the question from the modern standpoint that we, generally speaking, overlook the immense work done by our predecessors reaching far back in unbroken line to the mists of antiquity. It was they who laid the foundations upon which modern dentistry has been built, and no man can peruse the record of their efforts.

In modern times, Pierre Fauchard (1723), a French surgeon published The Surgeon Dentist, A Treatise on Teeth (Le Chirurgien Dentiste). Fauchard is credited as being the Father of Modern Dentistry because his book was the first to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry including basic oral anatomy and function, operative and restorative techniques, and denture construction.

In 1746, Claude Mouton described a gold crown and post to be retained in the root canal. He also recommended white enamelling for gold crowns for a more esthetic appearance. In 1789, Frenchman Nicolas Dubois de Chemant received the first patent for porcelain teeth.

In the year 1790, John Greenwood constructed the first known dental foot engine. In the same year Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructed the first chair made specifically for dental patients. In 1832, James Snell invented the first reclining dental chair. As the time progressed numerous researchers kept on advancing in updating the tools and techniques incorporated in modern day dentistry.

Dentist Day is also an opportunity to recognise the many advances in dental technology and techniques that have made dental care safer, more effective, and more comfortable than ever before. From digital X-rays to laser dentistry, these advances have revolutionized the field of dentistry and made it easier for dentists to provide high-quality care to their patients.

One of the most important things we can do to maintain good oral health is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing our teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Dentist Day is a great reminder to schedule that overdue dental appointment or to start making oral health a priority.

In addition to promoting good oral hygiene, dentists also provide a range of treatments to help prevent and treat oral diseases and conditions. These may include fillings, root canals, extractions, and orthodontic treatments, among others. By seeking out these treatments when needed, we can help prevent more serious oral health problems from developing.

As we celebrate Dentist Day 2023, let's take a moment to thank the dentists who work tirelessly to keep our teeth and gums healthy. Let's also make a commitment to prioritize our own oral health by practicing good oral hygiene, seeking out dental care when needed, and staying informed about the latest advances in dental technology and treatments.

In conclusion, Dentist Day 2023 is a reminder of the importance of oral health and the crucial role that dentists play in maintaining it. By working together to prioritise oral health, we can help prevent a range of health problems and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

DR. MUMIN RASHID, MDS, Safe Hands Dental health and awareness centre, Baghaat Chowk Srinagar, Kashmir.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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