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The Evolution Of Pediatric Dentistry

by Dr. Steve Whittemore, D.D.S. | Published November 12, 2019

Did you know that the history of dentistry goes all the way back to 5000 B.C.? Although there is a long history in the field of dentistry, pediatric dentistry didn’t become relevant until the 1900s. Since the 1900s, the study and implementation of pediatric dentistry has evolved and became more beneficial by impacting the lives and smiles of many children around the world.

The First Step for Pediatric Dentistry

In 1913, American dentist Alfred C. Jones opened the world’s first oral hygiene school called the Fones Clinic For Dental Hygienists in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The school sent women from Fones Clinic to clean school children’s teeth, which started the rise in pediatric dentistry. While this was occurring, a dental assistant by the name of Minnie Evangeline Jordon decided to create her own dental practice just for kids on the other side of the country in Los Angeles, California. The dental practice was the first of its kind. Her research on a variety of foods and sugars effect on children’s teeth for a project in college gave her the insight that she needed to do something about it.

National Recognition of Pediatric Dentistry

Fast forward to the 1940s, The American Dental Association officially recognized a new specialty: Pediatric Dentistry. This ultimately lead to a rise in awareness for children’s dental hygiene, causing an increase in about 50% of kids going to the dentist once a year. Over a decade later, a federal agency founded The Pediatric Dentistry Training Program to raise the number of dentists trained to treat special needs kids and larger amounts of children.

Children’s Dental Health at the Turn of the 20th Century

In the late 1990s, the Secretary of Health and Human Services informed Americans with a national report that gave details and a full meaning of the importance of children’s oral health in correlation with their general health. Less than 5 years later, the concept of creating comprehensive oral healthcare for children starting before they are a year old was pushed through by the American Dental Association.

The Present and Future of Pediatric Dentistry 

Plenty of things have changed and improved for pediatric dentistry since it was first revolutionized in the early 1900s. Now, pediatric dental services are offered to anyone 19 and younger through multiple employer plans, making it an essential health benefit for Americans. This has made oral hygiene better available and easier to afford for children and their families. Today, more than 86% of children visit the dentist at least once a year. Children’s smiles and oral health are now looked upon highly by health care professionals around the world, wanting to keep then clean and healthy.

Scheduling Your Child’s Appointment

At Pediatric Dentistry of Central Iowa, our Dentists have been serving the Des Moines and Ankeny communities with over 50 years of combined experience. If you are interested in bringing your child into our kid-friendly dental offices, fill out our new patient form and book an appointment with one of our friendly staff members at either our Des Moines or Ankeny location. We look forward to seeing you soon!


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