History of the Institute

The development of the Edinburgh Dental Institute over the years.

John Smith photo
Dr John Smith

Dr John Smith

In 1856 Dr John Smith gave a course on "physiology and diseases of the teeth" at Surgeon's Hall, Edinburgh. The first special treatment of dental disease was carried out at the Royal Public Dispensary in 1857. It became clear that facilities would have to be provided for the treatment of necessitous patients and the training of dental students.  Dr Smith enlisted the co-operation of other practitioners and thanks to their efforts the Edinburgh Dental Dispensary was opened at No 1 Drummond Street in January 1860.

Dental Hospital and School

In 1878 the Dispensary and the Scottish Dental Education Committee co-operated to found the Dental Hospital and School, which was incorporated in 1892. In 1889 the Dental Hospital was removed to No 5 Lauriston Place, the property of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. In 1894 it returned to Chambers Street. In 1903 the adjoining building was purchased, and plans were drawn up for an extension to be built between these buildings and the pavement line. These plans had to be postponed because of the war, and it was not until 1927 that the new building was opened.

Post war

In 1948 the Dental Hospital came under the South Eastern Regional Hospital Board, forming part of the Royal Infirmary Group. In 1974 it came under the South Lothian District of Lothian Health Board, and it is presently part of the University Hospitals Division of NHS Lothian.   

The present day

Today, we offer academically rigorous and highly crafted programmes for undergraduate, postgraduate and OLD students at our excellent facilities in Lauriston Place. All our activities have strong cooperation and collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian, NHS Education for Scotland and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.