One of the most commonly practiced methods of cosmetic dentistry in the past was teeth whitening. For hundreds of years, people used various methods to whiten their teeth. While people of today want white teeth mainly for aesthetic reasons, in the past having white teeth often signified wealth and status.
Those that were wealthy and of high stature in a community wanted the whitest teeth possible to show their prestige. Various forms of teeth whitening compounds were used to whiten teeth. Some cultures used acids to whiten teeth, however it was quickly realized that the acid actually ate away at the tooth enamel and caused severe damage to the tooth. Other cultures actually used urine as a method to whiten teeth, as the ammonia in urine worked for removing tooth stains. From these primitive methods, early dentists were able to discover newer ways to whiten teeth that were much less damaging, as well as more palatable.
Early innovators were also able to create various methods to replace teeth that were lost to make a persons smile more appealing, as well as help with function of the mouth. Early sets of dentures were made from wood to help replace teeth both for appearance, and for function. As technology advanced, primitive sets of dentures made from ceramics started to be used until further advancements allowed to us discover the products that we use today.
Though early cosmetic dentistry was certainly primitive, and would be appalling to the people of today, it opened the doors for the advancements that we have made. Fortunately, there are now large selections of cosmetic dentistry procedures available that are much more effective and much more appealing to those looking to improve their smile.