If you have ever had your teeth whitened or have dental implants, you may not realize how far the field of cosmetic dentistry has come. Today teeth whitening, veneers, and other cosmetic treatments are relatively simple and even pain-free, but it wasn’t always that way.
Though there is not much documentation to provide detailed accounts of early procedures, cosmetic treatments in dentistry date back thousands of years. In 700 B.C., the first artificial teeth were made out of bone and ivory. The first dental bridges and crowns appeared 900 years later in 200 A.D. Originally made from gold, these crowns were used to replace damaged or missing teeth.

In the late 1700s and early 1800s, cosmetic dentistry procedures began to vastly improve. While using human teeth as dental implants was commonplace before the 1700s, human bodies would always reject them and the teeth would quickly rot. In the 18th century, the first porcelain dentures were created, paving the way for modern dentures. Porcelain teeth became prevalent in the 19th century. By the early 20th century, acrylics and plastics were the most commonly used material for dentures. Acrylics are still the most popular material for dentures today.

Cosmetic dentistry in the modern age has become far more advanced. In the 1990s, it became common for cosmetic procedures such as bleaching, implants, and veneers to be offered in most dentists’ offices. Over the last few decades, much advancement has been made in this field. In the early 1980s, dentists began using a technique allowing them to bond veneers directly to teeth. Laser teeth whitening was approved by the FDA in 1996.

Next time you go to the dentist’s office for a filling or teeth whitening, take a moment to think about how fortunate you are to have access to the modern and safe techniques offered in today’s cosmetic dentistry!