Ancient Dentistry That Will Blow Your Mind!
Tooth decay, cavities, wisdom teeth, tooth loss and even the oral systemic link aren’t a new experience for mankind. These factors have been affecting human life for thousands of years. That’s right, dentistry was even practiced in ancient times. “Tooth worms” were the cause of dental decay based on Sumerian text from 5000 BC! We know now that bacteria cause tooth decay, but that text is still a part of the journey that lead mankind to the knowledge we have now! Take a journey with us into the history of ancient dentistry!
Indus Valley Natives Jewel-Capped Their Teeth
Ancient burial sites in Pakistan show that around 7000 BC, the Indus Valley natives were using bow drills to treat dental issues, such as cavities. This was done by a skilled bead craftsmen who, then filled in the work with beautifully crafted caps made from beads. They were very similar to the crowns that dentists use today. Based on archeological findings, this method was actually quite reliable and effective. This is some of the first known dental works in history.
Egyptians Had The First Known Dental Practitioner
The endless golden deserts of Egypt were home to the first known dental practitioner. He was buried with honor as one of the best physicians of his time. His tomb, dating back to 2600 BC, reads “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.” A well know scribe, Hesy-Re, is the first person ever referenced as a “dentist.”
Egyptians Were Masters Of Oral Reconstruction
Around the same time period as Hesy-Re’s reign, Egyptian “dentists” began to become elaborate craftsmen in oral reconstruction. In fact, there have been several incredible ancient Egyptian dental bridges discovered. When one or more teeth had been lost, were then reattached or replaced with a bridge. The ancient Egyptians did this by reattaching the missing teeth with gold or silver wire. DNA tests show that in some of these cases the bridges were even made using donor teeth! For 4,600 year old dentistry, you can’t help but be impressed!
Hippocrates and Aristotle Were Fascinated By Teeth
Hippocrates, one of history’s most influential figures in all of medicine, was fascinated by everything pertaining to the human body, including teeth! Aristotle, a great philosopher, was fascinated by Hippocrates and his work, which led to a passion extending into teeth as well. They are both cited for work written about dentistry between 500-300 BC, mentioning the eruption patterns of teeth and even the treatment of tooth decay, as well as gum disease. Also mentioned were tooth extraction using forceps and the use of wires to stabilize any loose teeth or even fractured jaws!
Mayans Had The First Real “Grillz”
2007 wasn’t the first time “grillz” were a cultural fad! Hip Hop artist, Nelly, might have made this trend famous with his hit song “Grillz,” but the truth is ancient Mayans had rocks in their teeth first! They are known for embedding beautiful stones into their teeth using advanced techniques, so it’s no wonder they are considered the masters of cosmetic dentistry. These delicate artists were even able to drill into the teeth to set the stone without hitting the pulp inside the tooth. This means they were not only highly-skilled but very educated and experienced in the art of dentistry.
While it may seem quite different from modern dentistry, ancient dental history is part of the reason our techniques are so advanced today! Each dental breakthrough has inspired and empowered the next, making advancements like the Cerec same-day crown using 3D imaging possible. This is also why it is so important for our dental practice to stay ahead of the time, utilizing cutting-edge procedures. This allows us to be an active part of the amazing and extensive history of dentistry! To learn more cool dental facts, feel free check out our blog or contact us!