Amalgam and the ADA
split off as a profession separate from medicine from 1780 to 1800
in the United States. There were two types of "dentists" at this
time. There were medical doctors trained to practice both medicine
and dentistry, called medical-dentists. Then there were craftsmen-dentists.
The craftsmen-dentists were those who were engaged in some other
trade such as barbering, wood or metal carvers, blacksmiths....etc.
Before 1840, there were no dental schools, no dental licensing,
no national dental organizations and no dental board exams. Dentists
were either self-taught by trial and error or were apprenticed under
a practicing medical-dentist. In the 1830's anybody could be a dentist.
All one had to do was to hang a sign up and he was an instant dentist.
That's when a bitter controversy between craftsmen-dentists and
medical-dentists over mercury amalgams began in what continues to
be known as the Amalgam War.