Cosmetic Dentistry in the Old Days

Cosmetic Dentistry in the Old Days

Cosmetic Dentistry in the Old Days

You may think cosmetic dentistry is part of 20th and 21st century technology, but it actually isn’t. According to Dr. Daniel and Dr. Victoria Yeager, cosmetic dentistry actually goes back thousands of years to the Ancient Greeks and Romans.

Brushing and Tooth Whitening in the Early Days

While the intention of the ancients was to focus on strong and healthy teeth, some early cultures tried their best to keep teeth white. In fact, the Ancient Romans used urine to whiten teeth because of the ammonia content while the Ancient Egyptians created toothpaste made from pumice and vinegar.

Early Cosmetic Dentistry


The Ancient Egyptians used gold to fashion dental bridges and dental crowns. Egyptians also used seashells to replace missing teeth.

Often called the forefathers of cosmetic dentistry, the ancient Mayans prided themselves on adorning teeth with semi precious stones such as amethyst and lapis.

Sophisticated Smiles explains that these early dentists were extremely skilled drilling just enough of the front of the tooth to hold a gemstone. The turquoise or rose quartz would be glued into place adorning the smiles of everyone who could afford it.

Before Dental Implants

In 700 B.C., the Etruscans attempted tooth replacement using artificial teeth made from animal and human teeth. Usually taken from the dead, both of these replacements were most often rejected by the body.

Other cultures tried tooth replacements using seashells and gemstones but as you can imagine none of these implants would stand the test of time.

Europeans tried and failed to bring back human teeth for implants during the 17th and 18th century but of course, the body continued to reject human teeth. Human and animal teeth were also used as dentures. It wasn’t until the 1900s that science and modern dentistry became successful with dental implant placement.

Medieval Dentistry

As odd as it may seem barbers got into the cosmetic dentistry game during the Middle Ages. These in demand dentists did everything from filing teeth to coating with acid to make them whiter. Sadly, the acid destroyed the enamel and the tooth ending the second career of most barbers during the time.

Dentistry in the 21st Century

Thankfully, times have changed with technological advancements that safely replace missing teeth. Modern cosmetic dentistry has also allowed people to completely alter their smile using porcelain veneers, cosmetic dental crowns, dental implants, and removable braces.

If you would like to learn more about cosmetic dentistry, call or schedule an online appointment with Inspired Smiles today.