Dentistry in the 19th Century: A Historical Timeline

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The practice of dentistry reaches back as far as 12,000 B.C. and it has evolved quite a bit over thousands of years. The 19th century, in particular, was an age where that progress was accelerated, due to scientific and technological advances. Here’s a timeline of important dental events of the 1800s:

1825: The White Dental Manufacturing Company starts to create and sell porcelain teeth, effectively establishing and dominating this market for the rest of the century.
1833-1850: The Crawcour brothers introduce amalgam filling material to the U.S., but their sketchy business practice sparks a controversy about the safety of metal fillings.
1840: The world’s first dental school, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, is founded and the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree is established.
1846: Dr. William Morton is the first to successfully conduct surgery with anesthesia.
1859: The American Dental Association (ADA), an organization committed to regulating and advancing dentistry, is founded in Niagara Falls, New York.
1871: In a revolutionary feat of dentistry technology, James B. Morrison patents the first factory-made foot-treadle dental engine, enabling dentists to cut enamel and dentin smoothly and delicately.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube is invented, replacing toothpaste sold in boxes, bottles or pots.
1890: Willoughby Miller, an American dentist, writes a book describing the microbial causes of tooth decay, catalyzing a worldwide movement in regular tooth-brushing and flossing habits.
1895: Wilhelm Roentgen, a German physicist, discovers the x-ray, which is quickly adapted into the dentistry field.
1899: Edward Hartley Angle classifies a variety of malocclusions and creates a foundation for orthodontics.

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