The Official Symbol of Dentistry
You've seen it on your dentist’s business card, at dental schools and at dental conferences, but what does the official symbol of Dentistry actually represent? The emblem of dentistry is taken from Asclepius, a Greek god of medicine and healing. His symbol is a physician’s staff with a snake wrapped around it. In honor of Asclepius, ancient Greeks would use non-venomous snakes in healing rituals. The snakes would also crawl around on the floors of where the sick and injured slept. The lilac color of the emblem dates back to the National Association of Dental Faculties in 1897. Dental graduates today use the purple color in their gowns and caps, and the color is often found in dental publications. It’s a testament to a color becoming a part of the honor of becoming a dentist. The American Dental Association adopted the emblem as the official symbol of dentistry in 1965. The Greek letter Delta represents dentistry, and the Greek letter Omicron is a symbol for odont, or tooth. The design also has 32 leaves and 20 berries, which represent the 32 permanent teeth and 20 baby teeth.