It’s no secret that dental procedures from a few centuries ago were far from reassuring. From understandably crude methods to the outright horrid, people with a toothache during those early times had many reasons for not wanting to receive dental care at all.
Advancements in modern dentistry render those fears mostly irrational, and it becomes even easier to overcome this type of phobia when one gains perspective on how well he or she has it now.
Patients back then didn’t even get a chair.
Dentist chairs, in their bulky, reclining, sink-equipped form, did not exist until the 20th century. Before that, patients sat on (relatively) fancy chairs with numerous joints. Even before that, the floor was the only option available, with dentists having to position their patients’ heads in between their knees. Even the least invasive dental procedures can’t help but feel invasive.
It was not until the 1700s when the idea of sitting down the patient sounded like a reasonable one. It was Pierre Fauchard, a dental surgeon from France, who set the trend of giving the patients a less awkward experience. Him being one of the world’s best dental professionals also helped, which is likely why he is now recognised as the Father of Dentistry.
The dental chair, throughout most of its history, had been unapologetically outlandish. Its silhouette alone was something very few people would want in their living room. Cosmetic dentists from Hertfordshire say that once Fauchard had paved the way for sit-down dentistry, manufacturers have been tirelessly prototyping chairs to maximise comfort and utility for both patients and dentists.
During the early 1800s, the first semblance of the modern dentist chair came as a series of products that played around with all the mechanical headrest, footrest, back and seat adjustability aspects a chair could ever have.
In 1958, one John Naughton presented the true progenitor of the modern dental chair, and all that came after were mere refinements. All it took was a few centuries, and now patients can rinse their mouth without even getting up to spit.