The Gies Report: Dental Education in the United States and Canada

From the earliest periods of human history, the teeth have been subject to irregularity in arrangement, to decay and disintegration, to loosening from their attachments in the jaws, and to partial or complete removal by accident or intent. Among the ancients, desire to preserve teeth, to retain loose teeth, and to disguise dental disfigurement, gave birth to the art of dentistry, which has been traditionally an agency to perfect the mechanism of mastication, induce oral comfort, correct maxillary or palatal deformities, maintain normal vocal enunciation, and enhance facial comeliness. After centuries of cumulative refinement of its methods, dentistry has become, in the main, the art of realigning, repairing, rebuilding, and removing teeth; remedying diseased conditions within teeth and in tissues immediately adjacent to them; and replacing, functionally and aesthetically with artificial substitutes, the teeth or part of teeth that have been lost or removed.