Who Was the First Periodontist?

Many people have often wondered, who was the first periodontist? Upon hearing this question, many other people have wondered, what is a periodontist? Well, we are going to discuss those questions and many more throughout the course of this article, to the best of our abilities concerning the documented evidence.

We know for a fact that periodontal disease has been a problem for people all throughout history. You see, as a specialty, periodontics – the study of periodontal disease, periodontitis, et cetera – has a very long and very rich history. That history spans the whole of civilization.

There is evidence that even back in prehistoric times, our ancestors had problems with their teeth. For example, people in the early Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures had oral health problems. How do we know this? Well, for one thing, there is written evidence and skeletal remains which show the existence of periodontal disease.

In histories pertaining to ancient Chinese and Indian cultures, there exists evidence of periodontal diseases like scurvy. Within those same histories, there were actually pieces of advice pertaining to the importance of cleaning one’s teeth! The evidence piles up through history, from ancient Greek and Roman to Renaissance Europe. The diseases themselves were well described in the documents available, as well treatments and methods of prevention.

However, the first periodontist came quite a bit later – not until the early twentieth century, in fact. Now, it stands to reason that periodontists likely existed before this; they simply were not documented. They may have gone by a different title. Around about 1914, however, all available accounts seem to suggest that Dr. Grace Rogers may well have been the first practicing periodontist.

Given the long history of documented periodontal diseases and care, however, it only stands to reason that, in the equally long history of dentistry, other people must have practiced periodontology. We simply do not have the records of those possible forebears.