A Timeline Of Dental Inventions

Before synthetic-bristle toothbrushes, people used pig hair bristles. Before porcelain dentures, people used human and animal teeth replacements. Before anesthesia, people used . . . nothing. There are many things we can be grateful for in this modern age, and the invention of dental appliances and tools is one of them.

  • 1789: Frenchman Nicolas Dubois de Chemant takes out the first patent for porcelain dentures.
  • 1790: American dentist Josiah Flagg creates the first dental chair by attaching an adjustable headrest and arm extension to a wooden Windsor chair.
  • 1846: William Morton conducts the first successful demonstration of ether anesthesia during oral surgery.
  • 1880’s: Tube toothpaste is created and mass-produced in a collapsible metal tube.
  • 1896: American dentist C. Edmund Kells becomes the first to take a dental x-ray of a living person.
  • 1903: Charles Land creates a porcelain jacket crown to cover and protect a tooth.
  • 1937: Alvin Strock inserts the first Vitallium dental screw implant.
  • 1938: The first nylon toothbrush is put on the market, replacing toothbrushes created from animal hair.
  • 1940’s: Charles C. Bass develops nylon floss, replacing the silk thread people had been using to clean between their teeth.
  • 1945: Public water fluoridation is first implemented in the Grand Rapids, Michigan.
  • 1949: Swiss chemist Oskar Hagger develops the first dental bonding system using an acrylic resin.
  • 1950: Fluoride toothpaste is put on the market.
  • 1957: John Borden creates the Borden Airotor, a high-speed handpiece which accelerates the process of tooth preparation.
  • 1960: The first electric toothbrush, created in Switzerland, is introduced in the U.S.
  • 1989: The first, at-home tooth whitening product is brought to the market.
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