Going to the dentist is not always the most pleasant of activities. Many people are downright afraid of sitting themselves down in a chair in order to have their mouth examined, but even those without dentophobia tend to treat the activity with little enthusiasm. As a result, picking a dental professional becomes a chore to get out of the way rather than a careful process.
However, dentistry is actually a fascinating profession. Learning more about the history of dental care can change the way you feel about your routine visits, as well as help you ensure you’re getting the best possible treatment from your professional. Here are some interesting facts about dentistry to consider when you’re picking your new tooth doctor.
1. Dentistry is ancient
The practice of modifying or examining teeth is not at all exclusive to modern times. There is good evidence to suggest that civilizations throughout history have mucked about with their pearly whites. Examples of ablation (the fancy name for removing or shaving down teeth) have been dated to about 15,000 years ago.
When the British Museum studied eight mummies using cutting-edge body-scanning technology, they found that at least one of the mummified bodies seemed to have had teeth removed. Clearly, Ancient Egyptians had dentists as well!
2. Dentists are highly trained medical professionals
While many of us know how long and arduous a process it is to become a medical doctor, we rarely consider that the same amount of effort and time goes into training to be a doctor of dentistry. Like their body-focused counterparts, dentists must first complete a Bachelor of Science degree—which takes three to five years depending on your path—and then go on to complete a four-year Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. That’s a minimum of eight years of learning to be able to tinker with someone else’s teeth!
3. Dentistry is changing with the times
Dental care has come a long way since the days of the Ancient Egyptians. With the advent of digital web technology, you can even get a consultation or advice from a dentist online! Far from being a specialty practice, this is available from many local practitioners: this Hope Island dental clinic has a web chat portal right on its website, which allows for immediate communication with a professional.
4. Dental care is a dangerous job
It may seem as though dentistry is a straightforward and simple profession, but in fact, teeth are extremely complicated parts of the body and working with them can be downright dangerous. One of the main risks for dentists is to their hearing: the drills that dental doctors work with all day can cause serious and long-term damage to the auditory system.
Mouths are also dangerous to be poking around in; after all, teeth are strong and sharp enough to chew up everything we put in our mouths in a day. Dentists are very often bitten, either by patients who are afraid, anaesthetized, or by accident!