Dentistry is a lot older than people realize. While many modern dental techniques are fairly recent, there are archaeological records of some dentistry being done as far back as 5000 B.C.!
However, when you look at pediatric dentistry as a specialty, its origin is significantly more recent than that, beginning as late as the 20th century. If you’re curious about the history of the field, here’s a brief summary of how it came to be.
While people have been treating oral health problems for a very long time, the first school devoted specifically to oral hygiene didn’t emerge until 1913, when the Fones Clinic for Dental Hygienists opened in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Part of its work involved sending women from the clinic into schools to clean children’s teeth.
The Mother of Pediatric Dentistry
While this was happening, a dental assistant named Minnie Evangeline Jordan opened the first dental practice designed specifically for children in Los Angeles, California. From that point, she devoted her life to researching and treating children’s oral health problems.
After years of lectures and research regarding the relationship between children’s diets and their teeth, she published the very first textbook on pediatric dentistry, titled Operative Dentistry for Children, in 1925.
The Tides Start to Change
In the 1940s, the American Dental Association officially recognized pediatric dentistry as a specialty unto itself, which led to an increased awareness of the importance of children’s oral health. This resulted in a 50% increase in children making annual visits to a dentist. In the 50s, a federal agency founded The Pediatric Dentistry Training Program to train dentists that could meet this demand.
The New Century
In the late 1990s, the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued a report that emphasized to dentists the importance of treating oral health problems in children. This was also the era when dentists began to recognize that children can benefit from comprehensive oral healthcare starting before the age of 1.
Fast forward to the present day, where pediatric dentistry is considered a crucial part of childhood development. Today, over 86% of kids make annual trips to the dentist, and it’s due in no small part to the hard work of these generations of dentists.
About Our Practice
At KidsSmiles Dental & Orthodontics, we’re motivated each day by providing children with high-quality dental care in an environment that can put them at ease. We know that getting your family to the dentist isn’t easy, so we’ve designed our office to be as kid-friendly as possible. Our incredible dental team will also be happy to give you the one-on-one attention that you deserve to ensure that your needs are cared for.
If you have any questions about how a pediatric dentist could benefit your family, we can be reached at our website or by phone at (972) 884-5450.