Meet Pierre Fauchard: The Father of Modern Dentistry

May 10, 2022

Anyone with a passing interest in dentistry will likely be curious about the early days of the profession. While forms of dentistry have existed for thousands of years, modern dentistry didn’t arrive until the 18th century. This was when Pierre Fauchard published his profession-changing books. That achievement has earned him the title of the father of modern dentistry.

Fauchard’s Innovative Book

When Fauchard moved to Paris in 1718, he noticed a lack of high-quality, detailed dental books. He decided to make one to fill that gap. He finished writing and editing it in 1723 and 1728, respectively. That same year, he published it divided into two volumes.

The title was “The Surgical Dentist,” or “Le Chirurgien Dentiste” in French.

What He Wrote in the Book

The book was much more than just a series of texts. It also featured 42 plates with surgical appliances and instruments. The text itself spanned more than 800 pages and featured numerous illustrations.

Much of the written contents of the book include principles that Dr. Sharma and other modern dentists still follow.

For example, when he wrote the book, there was a common misconception that “tooth worms” are the ones causing cavities. However, Fauchard said in his book that this is not the case, connecting sugar to cavities.

He also wrote about using fillings in dentistry. He suggested amalgams such as tin, gold, and lead. While not all of those materials are still suitable today (especially lead), the idea remains the same.

Fauchard also explained the ideal position for a dental patient and suggested a light for dental chairs.

He also showed that deciduous teeth have roots, something which other dentists hadn’t yet widely accepted.

He Fought Against Poor Information

Fauchard’s explanation that tooth worms are not real and not the cause of cavities was not the only way he fought dental misinformation. He was also candid about dental charlatans and quacks.

For example, these charlatans frequently used sulfuric and nitric acid on teeth. They claimed they would remove tartar. However, Fauchard explained that these were dangerous.

Fauchard’s book even detailed how to spot false dental fillings put in place by those charlatans.

Fauchard Also Revolutionized Dental Tools

In addition to his famous book and educational efforts, Fauchard invented and adapted various tools for dentists. For example, he borrowed tools from barbers, jewelers, and watchmakers.

Fauchard was also a pioneer in the search to replace missing teeth. He is responsible for the first dental braces as well.

Fauchard’s Life

Now that you have an idea of Pierre Fauchard’s contributions to modern dentistry, you may want to learn more about his life. He was born in 1678 in Saint-Denis-de-Gastines in north-western France. When he was 15 in 1693, he joined the French Royal Navy.

This decision had significant consequences for dentistry, as he met surgeon major Alexander Poteleret while serving. Poteleret specialized in the diseases of the mouth and teeth. He provided both inspiration and encouragement.

After leaving the military, Fauchard worked at the University of Angers Hospital in Angers. He called himself a “surgical dentist” and earned a reputation for being highly skillful.


Pierre Fauchard is considered the father of modern dentistry due to his innovations and books. He introduced many ideas and procedures that were revolutionary for his time and are still used today. If you would like to learn more about our dental services in River West Chicago, contact us today!


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