Who Was The First Ever Dentist?

Have you ever wondered who was the official first dentist ever? I know it is not the most popular topic, however dental hygiene deserves its own post here as well.

Based on the publicly available records, the first dentist ever was Dr John M. Harris, born and raised in Ohio in 1827.

Dr John M. Harris First Dentist Ever

Dr John M. Harris is the founder of the world’s first school of dentistry in Bainbridge, Ohio.

It comes as no surprise for western history to make him the first official dentist ever.

In fact, it is largely because he helped to establish dentistry as a branch of the medical profession.

We have John M. Harris to thank for improving the toothpaste as we know it today.

Even though he didn’t invent it, he was the first one to add chalk to the toothpaste.

Because of that added cosmetic effect, toothpaste started becoming appealing for companies to invest in the idea.

Dr John M. Harris’ first school of dentistry is now a Dental Museum, offering a treasure trove of dental history.

white house with roof
Dr. John Harris Dental School, the first-ever dentist’s office
By Nyttend – Own work, Public Domain

However, when we dig a bit deeper into who was historically the first ever dentist on the record, we find a different story.

Who Were First Historical Dentists Ever

Once again, it comes down to ancient history, dating 9 000 years in the past.

Believe it or not, researchers found evidence of first dental works in the Indus Valley Civilization.

Even earlier historical evidence of first dental treatments ever comes from Italy, dating back 14 000 years in the past.

Now that is truly impressive – and a bit scary, when you think of it.

Researchers have found a fossilised decaying tooth which was treated with handmade primitive flint tools.

If you think this news is old, brace yourself for this one – a study in 2017 found that 130 000 years ago, a human (sub)species Neanderthals were using primitive dentistry tools to get rid of toothache.

Even though it is more likely that those were no historical dental drillings; rather, historical dental excavations – if you know what I mean.

Ouch, can you imagine someone drilling your teeth with an improvised stone hammer? I can barely get myself to visit modern dentists.

It is an interesting fact that dentistry is considered to be the first official and globally recognized branch of medicine.

Another fun fact, history’s first ever doctor Hippocrates has also recorded ancient dentistry efforts in his work.

So, who was the first dentist ever? It looks like our ancient relatives “The Neanderthals” claim this “Who Was the First Ever” challenge again!