7 Famous Dentists and Their Dental Legacies

Dentistry is one of the important job professions. Were it to simply vanish, everyone would be walking around with decaying teeth – or worse!

Of course, we all know about the basics of dentistry, including the cleanings, the helpful advice, and all the dental procedures in between. However, there is obviously much more to the profession than the standard patient knows.

Dentistry has a rich history behind it, filled with neat facts, trivia, and revelations. Several famous dentists also left behind a lasting legacy based on their achievements. These famous dentists have left their mark on the world of oral health, in one way or another.

Let’s learn more about the dentistry profession with this list of famous dentists in the world:

1. Pierre Fauchard

Known as the “Father of Modern Dentistry,” Pierre Fauchard was an incredibly influential and famous dentist in the 1700s. The bulk of his influence came from his work on The Surgeon Dentist, in which he covered dental anatomy, pathology, operative dentistry, as well as the topics of periodontics and orthodontics. This is known as the first known comprehensive scientific description of dentistry.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

2. Erhard Keller

This Olympic skater was known as “The Flying Dentist.” While studying for his future as a terrific dentist, he was also mastering his skill in speed skating. This skill would earn him the title of champion speed skater, the first male champion of that kind, in fact. Keller continued his ambitious participation in various international tournaments for quite a few years until he retired to become a professional dentist.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons // Ron Kroon

3. Steve Arlin

Another orally inclined athlete, Steve Arlin was a pitcher in the Major Leagues of Baseball when he played for the San Diego Padres, as well as the Cleveland Indians for six seasons. While he was throwing fastballs in the spotlight of many fans, Arlin also began practicing dentistry. His career as a dentist continued long after he had retired from the sport he excelled in.

Screenshot grabbed from YouTube

4. Frank Abbott

Not only was Frank Abbott a famous dentist and author on all things dentistry, he was also an inventor. Abbott brought many useful dental instruments into the world that are still used today. His inventions and innovations include such tools as the chisel, pluggers, excavators, and scalers. Alongside these ideas, he also contributed to dentistry as a whole via his status as the president of the National Association of Dental Faculties, as well as president of the American Dental Association.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

5. Edgar Buchanan

A good dentist is a professional who can do competent work in a quick an easy manner, however a dentist that can also entertain you is even better. Edgar Buchanan was a skilled actor who had countless acting roles over his years, while also practicing dentistry. His roles included spots in classics such as The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Petticoat Junction. Even after all of that success, he still managed to be a pretty successful dentist, as well.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons // CBS Television

6. John Henry Holliday

Many of us are familiar with the legendary “Doc” Holliday, the infamous gunfighter and temporary Deputy U.S. Marshal during his historic role in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. However, the origin of the nickname “Doc” came from his work as a dentist. Before his exploits as a close friend of Wyatt Earp, himself, Holliday had his very own dental practice in Atlanta, Georgia.

He abandoned his work as a dentist following his unfortunate diagnosis of Tuberculosis, prompting him to move to the dry lands of the American Southwest in an attempt to help alleviate his symptoms. As you can guess, this move led him down the path that etched his name in gunfighter history.

Picture from Wikimedia Commons

7. Robert Dudley

The transition from a simple dentist to a famous film start must be a pretty big rush. After years of serving his community as a well known dentist, Dudley entered his hat into the game that is Hollywood. He was rather successful as an actor in the early 1900s, as he appeared in more than 115 films over his career. Some of his many roles included characters in Seven Keys to Baldpate, The Night Flyer, and The Bellamy Trial. However, all of that success began with his wonderful work as a local dentist.

  • Gretchen is a free-spirited blogger focused on ways to improve her spiritual and emotional health. She uses the MANDALA HEALS blog to dispense advice, tutorials & guides on various topics.

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