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Pierre Fauchard

(1678—1761)


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(1678–1761)

Fauchard was born in Brittany and trained as a surgeon in the French navy, which he left in 1700 to become a dentist in Angers, western France. In 1719 he established a practice in Paris and was the first person to use the title of surgeon–dentist (chirurgien–dentiste). He published the first dental textbook, ‘Le Chirugien Dentiste ou Treatise des Dents’ (‘The Surgeon Dentist or Treatise on the Teeth’) in 1728 (the first English translation was not published until 1946), in which he described 103 diseases of the teeth and oral cavity including pyorrhoea alveolaris. He introduced many new radical ideas, such as the treatment of patients in the chair (as opposed to the then conventional approach of lying them on the floor). He coined the term ‘dental caries’ and dismissed the idea of worms being the causative agent of dental decay. Because he appreciated the benefits of the judicious extraction of teeth to prevent malocclusion, he is regarded as one of the world's first orthodontic specialists. In his honour, in 1936 the Pierre Fauchard Academy was established. The academy maintains a ‘Hall of Fame’ that recognizes the achievements of over 7000 leading members of the dental profession.

Further Reading:

Lynch C. D., O'Sullivan V. R., McGillycuddy C. T. Pierre Fauchard: the ‘Father of Modern Dentistry’. Br Dent J 2006;201:779–81.

Subjects: Dentistry.


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