A historical review of the development of Dentistry as a branch of Medicine is presented with special emphasis on the origin of Maxillo-Facial and Oral Surgery and the importance of this speciality in the health-scheme of mankind. Archaeological findings of anomalies in this field of Surgery and evidence of oral surgical procedures as practiced by early man is discussed in the text. It is shown that as Man realised the importance of a functional masticatory apparatus, the Medicine man diverted his attentions to rendering the oral cavity and associated structures functional to its owner. From historical evidence found this led to a form of Medicine with teethcare as a speciality. Since the 14 th century surgical practice in this field of the human anatomy developed in earnest, leading to full recognition of its value during the recent world wars. In conclusion its development in the Republic of South Africa is sketched and an attempt is made to define the scope of Maxillo-Facial and Oral Surgery both in a teaching institution and as part of a Hospital Service.
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