History of Dental Tools, Instruments, Materials, Specialties, Concepts and Personalities.

A more detailed version of the Timeline is also available below


Contrary to the conventional chronological narrative that traces the history of dentistry from ancient civilizations to the present day, this book takes a distinctive approach. It offers a history focused on individual elements such as tools, instruments, materials, agents, interventions, specialties, providers, patients, and all aspects connected to dentistry and dental practice. Each entry is succinct, typically spanning just a few pages, with additional reading suggestions and references included. The aim is to incorporate primary sources and original quotes whenever feasible, providing readers with a nuanced and detailed exploration of the various facets that have contributed to the evolution of dentistry.


The Encyclopedia is presented in two distinct versions. The  first, a concise edition, is a collaborative effort between myself and Dr. Judit Forrai at Semmelweis University http://kaleidoscopehistory.hu/index.php?subpage=rovat&rovatid=68
The second, the current edition, offers a more extensive and detailed exploration of the subject matter (see table of content below). Both websites are dynamic and will undergo continuous development in the years to come. Your feedback is highly appreciated as it will contribute to the ongoing refinement of these resources.

Dr. Andrew I Spielman
Dr. Andrew I Spielman

DMD, PhD, New York University

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the History of Dentistry

Organization of the site

Commencing with a comprehensive timeline spanning from 13,000 BCE to the present day, this compilation delves into critical milestones in the history of dentistry. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the History of Dentistry takes a holistic view, exploring every facet of dental evolution. The narrative unfolds by tracing the development of tools and concepts in oral hygiene and prevention, progressing to an exploration of the historical tools and materials employed in oral and dental restoration, tooth extraction, replacement, realignment, rehabilitation, and regeneration. A dedicated section delves into the evolution of oral practitioners, dental practices, and the patient experience throughout different historical eras. The concluding segment of the book details the history of dental education, the evolution of scientific publications, advertisements, professional licensing, and societies. Enriching the volume are meticulous references and notes, transforming it into not only an informative source but also the primary resource for those seeking further reading.


My heartfelt gratitude goes to my wife, Kathy, and my son, Robert, for their unwavering support and patience while I was immersed in completing this task. I extend special appreciation to Robert for his invaluable editorial assistance throughout the entirety of this volume. I would like to express my thanks to the Dental College’s administration, particularly Dean Charles Bertolami and Executive Vice Dean Michael O’Connor, for endorsing my sabbatical in 2019, which enabled me to dedicate time to crafting this Encyclopedia.

A profound thank you is reserved for Sebestyén Spielmann Mihály, my brother and the true historian of our family, whose insightful suggestions significantly enriched this work. His meticulous assistance in ensuring the accuracy of my Latin translations is particularly appreciated. I also wish to acknowledge the contributions of Drs. Mike Alfano and Bruce Baum for their valuable input into the timeline covering the last 70 years.

The depth and accuracy of this Encyclopedia would not have been possible without the expertise and thoughtful comments of my esteemed specialist colleagues. Dr. David Chernin, Dr. James Gutmann, and Dr. Leila Jahangiri, played pivotal roles in reviewing segments of this work at various stages of its development. Their contributions have undoubtedly enhanced the overall quality of this project. This work is dedicated to my late father, Dr. Spielmann József, Professor of History of Medicine, and my first mentor.

Andrew I Spielman, Professor
New York University College of Dentistry
Director Rare-book Library and Historical Archive

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