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History History of Philippine Dentistry Dental practice in the Philippines today is fast becoming a powerful force in he lping shape

the future of the country under the New Society. The dedicated effor ts and personal sacrifices of Filipino practitioners who work hard to serve the public and keepup the dignity of the dental profession are guarantees of a brigh t future for our expanding missions of people who need oral health care. Early Filipinos, even before the advent of the Spaniards had been practicing som e crude form of dentistry. Barbers doubled up as dental practitioners. They used queer methods of treating toothaches. They used their fingers and sometimes nai l-pliers for extracting teeth. Real dental practice in the country began more than a hundred years ago. It star ted in the district of Quiapo, City of Manila, in the time of Capital Jose Areva lo, popularly known as Capitan Cheng- Cheng. He was gradually regarded as the fi rst Filipino dentist. An expert in carving tooth and plate on a single ivory pie ce, Capitan Chengcheng established his dental office in the same place. He had h is wife for his assistant. She was also skilled in gold craftsmanship. About the year 1858, a French dentist from Hong Kong, known as Monsieur M. Fertr i, came to Manila and set up a dental office in Quiapo. He was a very able denti st but not a good prosthetist. On this account he had to look for an assistant w ho could make artificial teeth. He found Capitan Chengcheng who no sooner became his partner in the profession. The joint practice of these two unassuming denti sts marked the dentistry in the country. During the Spanish regime, practice of dentistry was popularly known as the prof ession of the sacamuelas or tooth pullers. Since it was not a legally establishe d profession, any persons who was capable of extracting teeth, could practice as a sacamuela without rendering himself culpable of illegal practice of dentistry . Later a special course was established in the University of Santo Tomas for ci rujanos ministrantes which was eventually changed to cirujano dentistas. This cu rriculum, although a very crude one, marked a milestone of great significance in the development of dentistry as a profession. When the Americans occupied the Islands, the Islands, the Military Governor of t he Philippines, Major General Elwell Otis, authorized the then Provost Marshall General to determine the fitness of those who were already practicing dentistry. Accordingly, examinations were given and licenses subsequently issued. The requ irement marked the beginning of the trend toward state supervision of the dental practice of the country. Three years after, with the change from a military to a civil government, the Is lands were placed under a governing body known as the Philippine Commission. It was this body, which, in 1903, passed the famous Act No. 593, considered to be t he second step towards the maturation of dentistry in the Philippines into a pro fession. This Act provided for the organization of the Board of Dental Examiners and vested with powers substantially similar to those the present Board enjoys. The members of this Board were: Dr. Robert T. Olliver, chairman; Dr. Wallace G. Skidmore, secretary-treasurer; and Dr. Antonio Vergel de Dios, member. The effects of American education began to be felt and were highlighted by the a rrival of Filipino dentists who earned their degrees from American dental school s. Some of these Filipino dentists were Drs. Gregorio R. Mateo, Francisco Ponce, Placido Flores and Joaquin A. Lada. While Filipino dentists increased, the dent al needs and problems of the people also increased. To solve this, they bonded t hemselves together into an organization called the Sociedad dental de Filipinas with Don Bonifacio Areavalo as president, Gregorio R. Mateo as vice-president, F . Calleja and Juan Villanueva as secretary and treasurer respectively. This orga

nization was instrumental towards the establishment of dental schools and initia tion of reforms for the improvement of the profession. Colegio Dental del Liceo de Manila was the first dental school established under the leadership of Gregor io R. Mateo, Antonio Oliveros, Crispulo Layoc and others. This was later renamed the Philippine Dental College consisted of three years professional course lead ing to the degree of D.D.S. Gregorio Agramon ably edited the Odontologia Filipin a, the official organ of the society as an offshoot of the Sociedad Dental del F ilipinas. Later, more dental schools were established in the country. These schools were: The University of the Philippines (1915), National UniversityCentro Escolar Univ ersity (1925) and the Manila College of Dentistry (1929). The last three univers ities mentioned offered a three-year course leading to the degree of D.D.S. whil e the University of the Philippines offered a four-year course leading to the sa me degree. Later, it adopted the three-year course leading to D.D.S. and offered an additional one year post graduate course to the degree of D.D.M. Only high s chool graduates were allowed to enroll in the school of dentistry in all the uni versities mentioned. During this time, American Dental officers from the United States Army took time out to teach dentistry in some of these schools. Noted amo ng these were Col. George G. Graham, Periodontology; Maj. Harry Smalley, Prosthe sis and Maj. Thomas Page, Operative Dentistry. (1925), In 1924, a flash of new dentists graduated. For mutual benefits they organized t he National Dental Association. The first president was Dr. Francisco Tecson. Th is organization published its official organ, The National Dental Review with Dr . Eladio Aldecoa, editor. Development in dental education progressed as the 1929 Philippine Legislature pa ssed a law known as Act No. 3538 lengthening the dental course from three to fou r years and in 1930 enacted a reciprocity provision forbidding foreign dentists from practicing in the Philippines if they came from countries which did not gra nt same privilege to Filipino dentists. Four years after this law was passed, an other was introduced which would practically kill dentistry as a profession beca use the bill provided that medical practitioners could engage in dentistry witho ut taking the dental examinations. Dr. Victorino G. Villa and Dr. Gervasio Eraa f ought bitterly the passage of this bill but to no avail. Very luckily, Governor General Frank Murphy vetoed it. In 1936, the United States' dental education adopted a minimum two-year pre-dental course as a pre-requirement for the study of dentistry. This greatly disturbed the Philippine dental schools set-up. Further development along the line was cut short by the outbreak of World War II. Ten years before World War II dental practice was fairly advanced due to importa tion of dental materials from the United States. During the Japanese occupation in 1942-1945, the dentists were either hesitant o r afraid to practice. As a result of this, periodontal disease became rampant. S chool curricula were made to fit the occupationists' propaganda. The few who pract iced showed resourcefulness in meeting the demands of the profession. During the Chaotic war in the country, Filipino dentists remained ignorant as to the advances made in the field of dentistry in the United States. So, when the United States and Armed Forces Liberated the Philippines, dentists began to be a ctive again and the two organizations that existed before the war were finally u nified and the Philippine Dental Association was born. Under one national organization, dentists were united and made great efforts to catch up with the developments in dental science from foreign countries. The off icial organ of the organization which was the Journal of the Philippine Dental A

ssociation made its first issue in January 1948 and had consistently informed th e interested readers the recent developments of dental science in many countries . Two years after the war, dental equipments were very much improved and there dev eloped an overflow of students seeking admission in dental schools. As a result, four new dental schools were established. In 1948, the Philippine College of De ntal Medicine was opened and later renamed the College of Dentistry of the Unive rsity of the East. In the Visayan Islands three institutions were founded. These were: Southwestern Colleges, Iloilo City Colleges and the University of San Agu stin. Dr. Victorino G. Villa, the Dean of College of Dentistry of the University of th e Philippines contributed much to the advancement of dentistry in the country. H is paper on the detino-enamel article carried Philippine dentistry around the wo rld. Dr. Villa's researches appeared in publications in the United States, since t hen. Mean while, Dr. Luz. C. Macapanpan made contributions along histology and a dded to the effort of Filipino dentists in research. There were also advances in dental legislation in the country during the post wa r it was then that the Philippine Dental Association played its major part in th e enactment of the new Dental Law. In 1948, the Congress of the Philippines enac ted H.B. 2783 and was signed into Republic Act No. 417 by President Elpidio Quir ino. This law specifically provided for practical tests in the dental board exam inations; imposed a two-year pre-dental course as admission requirement for the study of dentistry; set and increased the penal provision for illegal practice o f dentistry; and effected changes in the qualifications and tenure of office and duties of the members of the Board of Dental Examiners. Congressman Ricardo Y. Ladrido also a dentist, sponsored other legislations which improved dentistry in the country. To mention one., was the Republic Act No. 481, separating the Dent al Corps from the Medical Service and creating it as a separate technical servic e of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In the years between 1945 and 1957, several changes were introduced in clinical dentistry due to these following factors: (1) the professionals' growth in dental schools and influx of foreign literature; (2) the increase in the number of dent ists coming from the United States and (3) the efforts of organized dentistry in conducting regular scientific meetings and the conventions held annually by the Philippine Dental Association. The New Society initiated by President Ferdinand E. Marcos a bright hope in the advancement of dentistry in the country. The Philippine Dental Association which is a member of the Asian Pacific Dental Federation is hosting its 8th Congress on February 7-12, 1977 at the Philippine Convention Center ( a new structure und er the New Society). The Philippine participation on this Congress manifests a s trong determination of the Filipino dentist advancing dental technology in the c ountry. This is all due to the efforts of the active members of the Philippine D ental Association, the bulwark of dentistry in the Philippines. It is surmised that in the future, all persons and agencies concerned will never tire to pursue and accomplish its objectives for the betterment of the health a nd welfare of the Filipinos.