What Was the Very First Dental School in America?

May 3, 2022

Visiting the dentist is a normal part of life today, but that was not always the case. While we know that there were dentists (or something resembling them) in the Indus Valley in 7,000 B.C.E., most dental advances are much more recent. It wasn’t until the 17th century that Pierre Fauchard published “The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth,” and became the father of modern dentistry.

In the following century, the United States saw the establishment of the first dental school.

Baltimore College of Dental Surgery – Established in 1840

The title of America’s first dental school goes to the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. It was established in 1840. This was more than just a way to educate future dentists. It was also the beginning of the trend of more dental oversight. Before this, there was minimal oversight, so the quality of dentists varied greatly.

The creation of the dental school came thanks to efforts by Dr. Chapin A. Harris and Dr. Horace H. Hayden. They wanted dentistry to become a scientific profession. The pair recognized that systematic formal education was necessary for this. The General Assembly of Maryland was the organization to charter the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.

The Influence of the School

The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was not just the country’s first dental school. It also became an example of how to set up dental education. This is the same pattern that dental education dentists follow today. That includes equally focusing on general medical knowledge and dentistry skills.

Harvard University Dental School

However, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was not the first dental school with a university affiliation. This honor belongs to Harvard University Dental School, founded nearly three decades later in 1867.


The Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was America’s first dental school and was established in 1840. Other schools and forms of oversight for dentistry soon followed. Today, dentists in Chicago, like Dr. Sharma are highly regulated.


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