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The history of Dentistry like any other cultural civilization of the human race has its beginning before the dawn of history. Even the Neolithic man has been reported to have practiced knocking out of teeth. Ancient Indian Ayurvedic literature contains many interesting observations on dental diseases and their treatment. Susrutha, the ancient Indian sage is universally acknowledged as the First dental anatomist of the world. Dentists and dentistry figure prominently in the medical history of Rome. One of the laws of the "twelve tables" prohibits gold be buried with the corpse except "the gold that is fastened to the teeth". The word dentist is derived form the Latin word 'dontist' and was first used by Pierre Fauchard of France who is the Father of Modern dentistry.

Progress of Dental Science in India

The year 1920 will remain as the first milestone in the progress of dental Education in India when a full fledeged autonomous dental institution was founded at Calcutta by the Late Padma Bushan, Dr.Rafiuddin Ahmed. The course let to the award of a diploma.

History of Dentistry in Madras Presidnecy

In 1935, Dr.H.Venkata Rao, started the first dental college in Madras called the "Madras Dental college & Hospital" but it folded up in 1942. A few years later during the early 40s, Dr. H.M.Rao, a medical practitioner obtained the DDS qualification from the USA and started "The American dental College" at Madras. The institution was well equipped and the course methodically organized. This institution was the only scientifically standardized school at that time and produced many successful of knowledgeful practitioners. This college unfortunately was shut down due to the untimely demise of its Principal, Dr.H.M.Rao.

The origin of the Dental Department in the Government General hospital, Madras dates back to 1883 when the Madras education department initiated a clinic in the Government hospital for the treatment of patients with dental problems and was handled by a Royal army dental assistant. Several decades later a civil surgeon post was created and a succession of qualified people were recruited through the hand of amalgamated assignment of Professor of Dental Surgery, Madras Medical College and Dental Surgeon GH. They attended to the hospital duties and also taught the medical students minor dental procedures.

The Government of India in 1943 instituted a Community health survey headed by sir Joseph Bhore to furnish suggestions for augmenting health services in the country. This committee recommended the improvement of dental services and starting of dental colleges to obtain the necessary qualified personnels.


The All India Dental journal and IDA review provided an effective medium for the dissemination of the scientific advances and stressed the need for ethical practice in the field of Dentistry. The IDA Founded in 1946 highlighted the necessity for Regulating the practice of dentistry and this resulted in the enactment of the dentist's act 1948. This proved a turning point in the history of dental education and introduced a regulated systematic practice of dentistry . The provisions of the act stipulated that the practice of dentistry without registration was a punishable offence with the intention of eliminating quackery and to standardize educational requirements. The DCI was constituted in 1949, at the central and state levels.

The IDA, supported by the Bhore recommendations made repeated representations to the Government for starting a dental institution in the south, at Madras. The Madras Dental Council was constituted on 2nd Feb 1951 and simultaneously petitioned the Government to initiate the BDS course. The Government of Madras accepted the request and senior professor of the dental wing was deputed abroad for higher training on various fellowships.

In December 1949, the Government by an order sanctioned the opening of a separate Dental wing attached to Madras Medical College and Government General Hospital, Madras, for training candidates for the BDS course and recommended an intake of fifteen students per year in the year 1953. Government also sanctioned money for construction of an additional storey to the then outpatient block of the Government General Hospital and for the purchase of equipments. Government took action for the expansion of the dental unit accommodation by a GO on 19 th September 1951. The building in the Government General Hospital was completed in 1952. Government appointed a committee and rules for the selection of candidates were framed. A total of fifteen seats in which six seats were allotted to Andhra and Rayalsaema regions and nine seats were allotted of Tamilnadu Districts and West coast in the year 1953.

The dental wing of Madras Medical College came into existence on 10.8.1953. Fifteen candidates were selected on the basis of representations form various linguistic parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The number of admissions was increased to meet the shortage of dental surgeons in the state later. There was progressive expansion in the staffing pattern with the creation of various specialities and the work load correspondingly increased. Due to the paucity of space and on the recommendation of the Dental Council of India, a separate building was constructed and started functioning from 1961 in the new premises.

In the year, 1954, the number of admission to BDS course was increased and from fifteen to eighteen, then in 1956 it was increased to twenty and periodically increased to the present 100 seats. On the recommendation of the Dental Council of India, regarding the need for more physical space, the Government of Tamilnadu accepted the construction of a separate building under the second Five Year Plan scheme. Construction was started in the year of 1958 and completed by 1961 (The present Building ). Post graduate courses were started in the year 1966. Initially Post graduation Programme was in Oral Surgery and Periodontia and later it was started for Conservative Dentistry, Orthodontia, Proshodontics, Oral medicine and Oral Pathology. The Government of India has given the Permission to start MDS in Community Dentistry for the Academic year 2007- 2008.

While celebrating the silver jubilee of Dental wing in 1978 a proposal was submitted which was examined by the Government and an order was passed stating the separation of Dental Wing from the Madras Medical College to be form an independent Dental College, with independent budget from 3rd October 1979. Inauguration of Madras Dental college was done by his Excellency Prabhudas Patwari the Governor of Tamilnadu on 26 th February 1980. During bifurcation, the Dean of Madras Medical.

It was relieved of charge and Dr.B.P.Rajan was appointed as The Principal . It was affiliated to Madras University. From then onwards, the Madras Dental College and Hospital has been functioning with excellence to maintain the dignity and honor of the dental profession and imparting glorious knowledge to hundreds of dental students throughout Tamilnadu and All over India. Today many of the students graduated from this institution are faculties in leading institutions in the world, serving in Government Hospitals, defence services and Indian Administrative services. Almost all Private Dental college's Principals are past students of Our College. Some of our past College students are Chancellors and Vice Chancellors of some Universities.

The years also saw a rapid development in rural hospital services and the appointment of dental surgeons at various districts and Taluk head quarters, hospitals was possible due to the availability of graduates form the dental wing of MMC. Later, the government instituted MDS degree in various specialities and the auxiliary courses namely the dental mechanics and dental hygienist's courses. At preaent probably this is the only one Government Institute equipped with adequate infrastructure facilities with Tutors / Assistant Professors/ Readers & Professors as per D.C.I. Norms.

Tamil Nadu Government Dental College & Hospital

In the year 1992, the institution was renamed as Tamilnadu Government Dental College and Hospital and has been affiliated to The Tamilnadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Chennai, since the inception the Medical University.

The Emblem of Tamilnadu Govt. Dental College & Hospital

Govt Dental college - Logo

Description Of The Emblem

The TUSKER The elephant has been selected to symbolically represent the dental profession. With its large tusks and gentle nature, it is an ideal mascot, seen prominently on many emblems associated with the dental profession, including those of the Indian Dental Association and the Dental Council of India.

CADUCEUS (The staff of mercury) It was originally the staff of Aesculapius, the emblem of the medical profession all around the world. The staff of Aesculapius has been represented by the trunk of the elephant to symbolize medico-dental harmony..

BOOK AND LIGHT The book and the light represent the inextinguishable thirst for knowledge.

THE TEMPLE The awe inspiring, beautiful temple is a symbol of the TamilNadu State Government which finances the Government Dental College.

ROUND PETALS numbering ten on either side represent the deciduous dentition.

DUTY, DIGNITY AND DISCIPLINE These attributes are of prime importance in moulding character in all individuals, more so in those associated with the dental profession.

THE THIRTY TWO LEAFED WREATH The thirty two leaved wreaths represents the thirty two permanent teeth which form the base of the dental profession.
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