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HISTORY OF PROSTHODONTICS

Dentistry has eight recognized specialities and prosthodontics is one of them. By definition, prosthodontics deals with the diagnosis, treatment, comfort, appearance, restoring and maintaining oral functions with the help of prosthetics. Loss of teeth can cause psychological trauma and depleted self esteem especially if it involves the frontal teeth. Even ancient civilizations have practiced replacement of teeth. In 5000 BC ‘tooth worm’ was considered as a common cause of tooth decay. 600 BC saw gold crowns and fixed bridges being used by the Etruscans in their dental practice.


The 1500s saw the advent of creative filling materials in the form of gold, silver, lead, foil and dentures were carved out of ivory. In the 1700s barber surgeons would perform tooth extractions in addition to cutting hair. There were also proposed uses of porcelain and Duchateau made the first porcelain denture. Charles Goodyear introduced the patented method of moulding vulcanite dentures. By then immigrant dental practitioners to American colonies committed themselves to the removal and treatment of diseased teeth. The 1800s progressed in tooth cleaning procedures with the turnkey scraper, along with a hand instrument to extract cavities. Porcelain dentures, vulcanite dentures, cohesive gold foil and tooth-colored silicate cement were introduced. Robert Arthur used cohesive gold foil enabling dentists to insert gold into cavities. X-rays for root canal treatment and formal dentistry courses evolved in the 1900s. Dental colleges with four-year courses were introduced. Resin bonded ceramic veneers also entered the market. By the 20th and 21st century vast progress was made with lasers being introduced for painless treatments.


Over time, due to advancements in the field of prosthodontics and dentistry on the whole, several defining facets of prosthodontics evolved.