US Navy 030124-N-1328C-510 Navy dentist treats patients aboard ship.jpg
A dentist (seated) treating a patient with the help of an assistant (standing).
CompetenciesBiomedical knowledge, surgical dexterity, critical thinking, analytical skills, professionalism, management skills, and communication
Education required

A dentist, also known as a dental surgeon, is a surgeon who specializes in dentistry, the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and conditions of the oral cavity. The dentist's supporting team aids in providing oral health services. The dental team includes dental assistants, dental hygienists, dental technicians, and sometimes dental therapists.


Middle Ages

In China as well as France, the first people to perform dentistry were barbers. They have been categorized into 2 distinct groups: guild of barbers and lay barbers. The first group, the Guild of Barbers, was created to distinguish more educated and qualified dental surgeons from lay barbers. Guild barbers were trained to do complex surgeries. The second group, the lay barbers, were qualified to perform regular hygienic services such as shaving and tooth extraction as well as basic surgery. However, in 1400 France made decrees prohibiting lay barbers from practicing all types of surgery. In Germany as well as France from 1530 to 1575 publications completely devoted to dentistry were being published. Ambrose Pare, often known as the Father of Surgery, published his own work about the proper maintenance and treatment of teeth. Ambrose Pare was a French barber surgeon who performed dental care for multiple French monarchs. He is often credited with having raised the status of barber surgeons.[1][2]

Modern dentistry

A man being treated by dentists

Pierre Fauchard of France is often referred to as the "father of modern dentistry" for being the first to publish a scientific textbook (1728) on the techniques and practices of dentistry.[3] Over time, trained dentists immigrated from Europe to the Americas to practice dentistry, and by 1760, America had its own native born practicing dentists. Newspapers were used at the time to advertise and promote dental services. In America from 1768–1770 the first application of dentistry to verify forensic cases was being pioneered; this was called forensic dentistry. With the rise of dentists there was also the rise of new methods to improve the quality of dentistry. These new methods included the spinning wheel to rotate a drill and chairs made specifically for dental patients.[4]

In the 1840s the world's first dental school and national dental organization were established. Along with the first dental school came the establishment of the Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, often referred to as a DDS degree. In response to the rise in new dentists as well as dentistry techniques, the first dental practice act was established to regulate dentistry. In the United States, the First Dental Practice Act required dentists to pass each specific states medical board exam in order to practice dentistry in that particular state. However, because the dental act was rarely enforced, some dentists did not obey the act. From 1846–1855 new dental techniques were being invented such as the use of ester anesthesia for surgery, and the cohesive gold foil method which enabled gold to be applied to a cavity. The American Dental Association was established in 1859 after a meeting with 26 dentists. Around 1867, the first university associated dental school was established, Harvard Dental School. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to earn a dental degree. In the 1880s, tube toothpaste was created which replaced the original forms of powder or liquid toothpaste. New dental boards, such as the National Association of Dental Examiners, were created to establish standards and uniformity among dentists.[4] In 1887 the first dental laboratory was established; dental laboratories are used to create dentures and crowns that are specific to each patient.[5] In 1895 the dental X-ray was discovered by a German physicist, Wilhelm Röntgen.[6]

In the 20th century new dental techniques and technology were invented such as: the porcelain crowns (1903), Novocain (a local anesthetic) 1905, precision cast fillings (1907), nylon toothbrushes (1938), water fluoridation (1945), fluoride toothpaste (1950), air driven dental tools (1957), lasers (1960), electric toothbrushes (1960), and home tooth bleaching kits (1989) were invented. Inventions such as the air driven dental tools ushered in a new high-speed dentistry.[4][4][7]

Other Languages
العربية: طبيب الأسنان
অসমীয়া: দন্ত চিকিৎসক
Bân-lâm-gú: Gê-i-su
Boarisch: Fotznspangla
bosanski: Zubar
corsu: Dentistu
dansk: Tandlæge
Deutsch: Zahnarzt
eesti: Hambaarst
Ελληνικά: Οδοντίατρος
Esperanto: Dentisto
føroyskt: Tannlæknar
Gaeilge: Fiaclóir
한국어: 치과의
Iñupiak: Kigusiqiri
italiano: Dentista
Kiswahili: Daktari wa meno
Kreyòl ayisyen: Dantis
Кыргызча: Стоматолог
Lëtzebuergesch: Zänndokter
lingála: Mónganga-mǐno
lumbaart: Cavadent
Nederlands: Tandarts
Nedersaksies: Koezedokter
日本語: 歯科医師
Nordfriisk: Tērdochter
norsk: Tannlege
norsk nynorsk: Tannlege
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਡੈਂਟਿਸਟ
português: Dentista
русский: Стоматолог
Scots: Dentist
shqip: Dentisti
slovenčina: Zubný lekár
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zubar
svenska: Tandläkare
Türkçe: Diş hekimi
українська: Стоматолог
Tiếng Việt: Nha sĩ
粵語: 牙醫
中文: 牙醫