Pierre Fauchard (1678 – March 22, 1761) is a French physician, pioneer inventor, and the person who wrote the first texts about dentistry. More than anything however, he is known as the “Father of Modern Dentistry.”
Born in a modest home in Saint-Denis-de-Gastines, Fauchard joined the French Royal Navy in 1693. He was 15 at that time. There, he met Alexander Poteleret. Poteleret was a surgeon major who specialised in the disease of the teeth and mouth.
The brilliant surgeon made quite an impression on young Pierre. Major Poteleret encouraged and inspired Pierre to read old texts about the healing arts. Eventually, Fauchard became a combat medic and one of Poteleret’s protege.
Revolutionary medical work
When Fauchard left the navy, he settled down in Angers. He then practiced medicine at the University of Angers Hospital. It was also there where he began his breakthrough medical work including pioneering scientific oral and maxillofacial surgery.
Fauchard called himself “Chirurgien Dentiste” which meant surgical dentist. At that time, the term was reserved for those who extract decayed teeth as opposed to treating them. Even with limited and primitive surgical instruments, Fauchard was considered a very skilled surgeon.
He was also the first in Europe to treat dental cavities using dental fillings. He also recognised that sugar alongside its derivate acids were to blame for caries. Left untreated, it can turn into tumors.
Fauchard was also the first to pioneer dental prosthesis. He also investigated ways to replace lost teeth. It was also his idea to hold artificial teeth to the healthy ones using thread or wire.
The highly skilled surgeon also got creative with his dental instruments and even utilised tools from other trades (i.e. tools from barbers, jewellers, and watch makers) if he can use them for surgery.
Writing his book
Fauchard moved to Paris in 1718 and noticed that a good book on dentistry did not exist. He then decided to use his extensive experience and write a book. That’s how “Le Chirurgien Dentiste” (The Surgical Dentist) came about. He finished writing the book in 1723 but edited it until 1728. The book was published in two volumes.
Apart from the text, the book also contained 42 plates illustrating surgical appliances and instruments.
In the book, he also debunked the myth that caries is caught by “tooth worm.” Instead he emphasised consuming less sugar because of its connection with caries. Fauchard also tackled dental fillings in his book and suggested amalgams like tin, lead, and gold. He also covered the right position a patient should sit.
Fauchard died on March 22, 1761 in Paris, France. He was 83.
Thanks to Fauchard’s brilliance and ingenuity, countless patients, students, and practitioners the world over have benefited enormously. Nowadays, 1728 Tampines Dental Clinic has continued Fauchard’s legacy by providing quality dental care at affordable rates. If a swift, smart, and safe dental procedure is a priority for you, visit 1728 Tampines Dental Clinic right away.