Daniel L. Orr II
D.D.S., M.S. (Anesth.) Ph.D., J.D., M.D.

The History of Dentistry and Anesthesiology


St. Apollonia, the patron saint of dentistry, lived in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century.  In 249 Christians were being persecuted during the reign of Emperor Philip and Apollonia was arrested and tortured in an attempt to have her renounce her faith.  Apollonia's teeth were broken or avulsed and her facial bones were fractured.  Apollonia was then told that if she did not deny her belief, she would be burned alive.  Apollonia intentionally leapt into the flames as a voluntary martyr.  Catholics now invoke Apollonia's name to aid with the insidious pain of toothaches.  Sadly, for some patients, the fear dental treatment is only overcome when actual tooth or facial pain is unremittingly severe.


Pierre Fauchard1
1678-1761, is recognized as
the Father of Dentistry  


G.V. Black

1836-1915, is known as the
Father of American Dentistry

On 16 October 1846 the second public demonstration of anesthesia was given by dentist,
William Thomas Green Morton.  Patient Edward Gilbert Abbot had a maxillofacial tumor removed at Massachusetts General Hospital in the "Ether Dome," now designated a National Historic Site.

Practicing even earlier than Morton, dentist Horace Wells was recognized not only by the ADA and AMA as the first individual to utilize safe and reproducable general anesthesia (1844), but was deemed "due all honor for having discovered the use of gases whereby operations could be performed without pain" (Paris Medical Society, 1848) in the worldwide forum.

Horace Wells
is recognized as the first individual to demonstrate surgical anesthesiology

General Anesthesia, the use of which was pioneered by dentists for use in dental procedures, is now supplemented or even replaced by local anesthesia in most dental offices. The first local anesthetic used in dentistry was cocaine, introduced in 1884 by Carl Koller.

The need for a non-addictive local anesthetic substitute for cocaine was seen, and Novocain was introduced in 1905.  Although many patients assume Novocain is still used as a local anesthetic, it has been almost entirely replaced by other local anesthetic solutions since the 1940's.

Dr. Orr completed a residency in Anesthesiology at the University of Utah prior to his Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Residency at LA County/USC/Medical Center. 

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