Ayurveda describes various congenital anomalites of teeth e.g. discoloured teeth, malocclusion of teeth, supernumerary teeth, injured teeth, tartar, erosion of enamel, tooth ache, caries of teeth, periodontosis, tumors of jaw bones and dislocation of temporomandibular joints. Ayurveda gives the treatment of these conditions.
Ayurveda describes gum disorders like hypertrophy or atrophy of gums, suppurative gingivitis necrotising ulcerative gingivostomatitis, alveolar abscess bleeding gums, tumors of gums and their treatment. It describes procedure for extracting the tooth.
Dr. V.B. Athavale M.B.B.S., D.C.H., M.D.(Paed), M.A.M.S., F.A.M.S., and Vaidyacharya is a renowned Paediatrician, and an eminent author who has several noteworthy achievements to his credit. He did his M.B.B.S. from Grant Medical College and Sir J.J.Group of Hospitals, both in Mumbai, stood first in D.C.H.(c.p.s.) 1956, and completed M.D. (Paed) in 1958.
He was offered the UNICEF Fellowship in 1965, when his paper was read during the International Paediatric Conference held at Tokyo. He was also chairman of the workshop on 'Herbal Medicine for Health for the developing Countries, which was held at Bangkok in the year 1981.
Dr. Athavale worked as a Honorary and Professor Head of Department of Paediatrician, L.T.M.G. Hospital, Sion, Mumbai during 1970 to 1990 and was recognized for his various accomplishments for which he has been bestowed with honours and awards, both National and International.
He has also authored more than a dozen books on Ayurveda, for which he has been conferred upon the International Award for the best author of Ayurvedic books in 1997
V. B. Athavale Research Foundation had been founded as a mark of respect and gratitude to Dr. Athavale when he retired after 30 years of selfless service as Hon. Professor and Head of Department of Paediatrics, L.T.M. Medical College and L.T.M.G. Hospital, Mumbai.
I am glad to being out this special issue of pediatric Clinics of India on the occasion of ‘International Congress of Dentistry’ held in Bombay. Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine literally means ‘Knowledge of life’. It includes art of living, science of health and philosophy of life. Though more than 5000 years old, it is by no means an outdated science. Even today, people of Indian think and live according to principles of Ayurveda. There are over hundred colleges all over the country, which teach Ayurveda in a systematic manner.
The close resemblance of the word Dantashastra and Dentistry suggests a strong possibility that the word Dentistry is derived from the word Dantashastra. Dentistry is one of the recognised sub-specialities of ‘Shalakya-tantra’ i.e. surgery of head and neck, which is one of the eight recognised specialities of Ayurveda. In Ayurveda literature, one finds reference of several textbooks of shalakyatantra (surgery of head and neck) namely Nimitantra, Videhatantra, Kankayana tantra, Gargya tantra, Galavatantra, Satyakitantra, Shounaka tantra and Kankayana tantra. These texts were named after the respective authors. In addition, one finds reference for Chakshushya tantra i.e. Ophthalmology and Karalatantra i.e. Science of irregular teeth or text book of Orthodontics. Unfortunately, these text books are not available and we are missing a lot of valuable information. It is surprising that even with the available literature, practically all the dental disorders mentioned today have been described in Ayurvedic texts. The principles of Ayurveda are based on sound scientific principles, which would remain as eternal truths. Ayurveda believes in treating the man as a whole. Hence Dentistry was specially taken up at post graduate level. Naturally, every ‘Dantashastrajnya’ i.e. Dentist was well versed with Ayurvedic medicine and surgery. As local measures and surgical treatment constitute important therapeutic measure, Dantashashtra was a surgical sub-speciality. Even today’s dentist styles himself as dental surgeon and not as a physician.
In this book, an attempt is made to dig out the golden mine of Ayurveda, so that this hidden wealth of knowledge can be easily digested, absorbed and utilised by the dentists all over the world. I sincerely hope that the modern dentists will utilise this knowledge for promoting the health and hygiene of teeth so that man can live a better life.
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