Temple School of Dentistry celebrates 150th anniversary

April 11, 2013 7:40:50 AM PDT
The Temple University School of Dentistry is gearing up for its 150th Anniversary Celebration.

Temple is the second oldest dental school in the nation next to the University of Maryland, and they have come a long way in the nearly two centuries of whitening teeth and brightening lives.

The Museum inside Temple's Kornberg School of Dentistry houses an enormous collection of dental artifacts, including 19th century utensils and old X-ray machines.

The museum also shows the evolution of the dental chair.

John McQuillen founded the current system of dental education in the United States during the Civil War.

"He was able after two years of hard work, to open a dental school called the Philadelphia Dental College," explained Amid Ismail, Dean of the Kornberg School of Dentistry.

Most oral surgery was performed using a foot-powered drill back then.

"The dentist would put his foot to the pedal, just like pumping. It was very slow, and I assume very painful," said Ismail.

The crude methods slowly changed with restorative dentistry, which arrived when sugar became cheaper and more available to the public.

"Before that, tooth decay was a problem of the rich, because they could afford sugar," said Ismail.

Still there was no anesthesia until 1864.

The museum has one of the early nitrous oxide machines.

There was also no sterilization of dental equipment. Today, the school boasts a state of the art facility, with infection control and sterilization lab.

"We are looking for cement, any blood, anything that would be left on the instrument," said Temple Dental Student Regina Barker.

Dozens of the school's current patients will get free non-surgical dental procedures on Saturday as part of the school's 150th anniversary celebration.

400 Alumni from the School of Dentistry will gather at the Barnes on the Parkway Saturday to celebrate this of piece of Temple history.