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5 DENTISTRY' Independent dental schools — From the earliest times dentistry was practised as a branch of surgery. Herodotus speaks of means of preserving the teeth, and artificial teeth are alluded to by Greek and Latin poets. Within the last half century dentistry has become a distinct profession. John Greenwood who carved in ivory a set of teeth for George Washington is said to have been the first American to establish himself as a dentist. His office was in New York and the work for Gen. Washington was done in 1790 and 1795.
The Baltimore college of dental surgery, established in 1839, was the first institution of the kind in the world. It was the direct result of an agitation to put dentists on a higher professional plane, and followed an unsuccessful attempt to found dental chairs in medical schools. It had been argued that oral pathology and dental mechanics should be taught in the medical schools as branches of medicine and that graduates choosing these courses should receive the degree of M. D. as in the case of other branches of medicine. In the same year the American journal of dental science, the first dental periodical in the world, was established.
In 1845 the Ohio college of dental surgery (since 1888 the dental department of the University of Cincinnati), in 1856 the Pennsylvania college of dental surgery, in 1863 the Philadelphia dental college were founded. These separate schools taught at first very little medicine but paid attention almost entirely to mechanical training and to those branches which a dentist must know. All conferred the degree of D. D. S. In 1865 the New York college of den
See Shepard's Inaugural address at the World's Columbian dental congress.
Dr William Carr of New York writes substantially as follows: Dentistry should be recognized as a specialty of medicine, and the dentist should hold a degree in medicine. The education of a physician is as necessary to one who undertakes the treatment of lesions, maladies and defects within the oral cavity as to one whose treatment is confined to the tracts of the nose, the ear and the throat.
tistry was founded with the purpose of educating men to practise dental surgery as a specialty of medicine. The curriculum included the fundamental departments of medicine with operative dentistry and oral prosthetics.
Dental departments — In 1867 Harvard university opened a dental department and began to teach dentistry as a branch of medicine with the special degree D. M. D. (Dentariae medicinae doctor). In 1875 the University of Michigan and in 1878 the University of Pennsylvania followed the example of Harvard in opening dental departments. 36 of the 56 dental schools are now departments of other institutions.
Growth — Since 1878 there has been a most astonishing increase in dental schools and dental students, due largely to the fact that the dental laws in many states now require graduation from a dental school as a condition for license. In 1878 there were 12 schools and 701 students; in 1899 there were 56 schools and 7633 students. The growth in dental students in 21 years has been 988 per cent. Of the 56 dental schools now existing in the United States, 2 were established between 1826 and 1850, 7 between 1851 and 1875, 47 between 1876 and 1900.
47 dental schools hold day sessions, 4 evening sessions, and 5 do not report this item. Degrees are granted to graduates of all schools."
Discoveries and inventions — The discovery of the anesthetic power of drugs, the most important step in the progress of medicine, was made by an American dentist William Jennings Morton, though the honor of this discovery is shared with another dentist Charles W. Wells of Hartford. Ct., who in 1844 rendered the extraction of teeth painless by the use of nitrous oxid. In his History of European morals Lecky says: “It is probable that the American inventor of the first anesthetic has done more for the real happiness of mankind than all the philosophers from Socrates to Mill."
* Graduates of the New York dental school receive degrees through the University of the State of New York which also countersigns the degrees of the New York college of dentistry.
Between 1850 and 1860, the use of crystal gold and the discovery of the cohesiveness of freshly annealed foil opened a new field for operative dentistry. The next decade witnessed the introduction of such improved instruments as the mallet, the rubber dam and the engine. The invention of the modern artificial crown and the bridge is another important event of about this period. In the 20 years just preceding 1893 more than 100 different crowns and bridges åre said to have been invented.
Dental societies — In 1840 the American society of dental surgeons, the pioneer of the associations to which dentistry owes so much of its progress, was organized in New York.
The National association of dental faculties, organized in 1884, has done much to strengthen courses of study in dental schools. At the time of its organization only those schools were admitted which had proper facilities for instruction and a corps of competent teachers. From time to time standards have been raised by rules governing attendance, instruction and graduation. There are at present 47 schools in the association, all of which require three full courses of dental lectures. The main defect of these schools as a rule is failure to require a sufficient preliminary general educa. tion for admission. The efforts of the association in this direction have not accomplished much as yet.
The National association of dental examiners,' organized in 1883 to secure higher and more uniform standards for admission to dental practice voted in 1898 to refuse recognition to any dental school that did not have 1) entrance requirements equivalent to at least two years of high school work, 2) attendance on three courses of lectures of at least
1 At its July 1899 meeting this association created an advisory committee to promote uniformity in administering dental jaws. Dr H. J. Allen, secretary of the committee, writes November 15, 1899 for “a comprehensive report from the New York examiners, as the entire committee regards the New York dental law as the best in the country.” Dr Allen states that boards in about 15 states have agreed to enter this compact to secure uniform standards.
six months each in different years as a condition for graduation, 3) a faculty of at least six, 4) a course of study embracing operative dentistry, dental pathology, dental prosthetics, oral surgery, anatomy, physiology, general pathology, materia medica, therapeutics and general surgery, 5) suitable chemical and bacteriologic laboratories under competent instructors, 6) suitable lecture rooms, a well-appointed dental infirmary and a general prosthetic laboratory. These rules were not approved by the National association of dental faculties and efforts to enforce them proved unsuccessful."
A joint meeting of committees of these two national associations was held at Niagara Falls in 1899, and it is probable that both will now work harmoniously toward higher standards, the progress to be made by degrees. The committees agreed on one year of high school work as the minimum requirement for admission to dental schools and by vesting the determination of this requirement in the hands of state superintendents of education they recognized the importance of removing this power from those who might exercise it unwisely through a desire to attract students. The motion of Dr Barrett to extend the requirement to two years of high school work after the session of 1901–1902 is to be acted on at the 1900 meeting of the National association of dental faculties. Other requirements of this association, as printed in the new rules, are the same as those given above under the National association of dental examiners except that each course of lectures is to be seven months in duration and general surgery is not mentioned as a special topic.
Subjects discussed — Among the subjects which have attracted much attention recently in dental literature and dental societies are the increasing use of plastics and of porcelain, the modification in practice through laboratory
'In 19 political divisions the latest prescribed preliminary and professional requirements are those of the National association of dental examiners, in 4 political divisions those of the National association of dental faculties. Differences between these associations having been adjusted their requirements will probably become uniform.
investigation, the germ theory of disease, antiseptics, the uses of electricity and the tendency of prophylaxis to develop along physiologic lines by attention to the laws of health. Among important topics discussed by the National association of dental faculties the undue multiplication of dental schools without proper facilities and detrimental effects of scholarships have been prominent.'
The question of interchange of licenses has been discussed frequently during the last few years. The correspondent of the New York state dental society at the May 1899 meeting submitted a proposition that all state boards, members of the National association of dental examiners, use identical question papers prepared by a committee of the national body, and that licenses granted as a result of such examinations be interchangeable among the states represented in the National association. This scheme had been submitted to dental examiners throughout the country and had been approved by most of those from whom replies had been received.
Interchange of licenses is highly desirable and will doubtless be brought about to some extent in the near future. An examination, however, should not be made the only test. A reasonable preliminary general education and a diploma from an accredited school should be required for admission to the final test which should be both theoretic and practical, and should be carefully guarded from danger of fraud or indirection.
An important step toward interchange of licenses was taken in 1898 when the New York dental law was amended so that the regents may now issue their license to any applicant who holds a license to practise dentistry granted by a state board of dental examiners, indorsed by the dental society of the state of New York, provided that his preliminary and professional education meets the New York statu
1 This association voted August 1, 1899 that no school in the association should grant free or beneficiary scholarships not absolutely obligatory under charter provisions.