When you visit the dentist nowadays, you generally book an appointment with them, sit in a comfortable chair while the technician gets you ready. Your dentist fixes your tooth problem with cutting-edge technology.
Though you might end up with a hefty medical bill and numb gums but at least you won’t end up with tar in your teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. Thanks to advancements in technology, you have the latest medical and dental equipment at your service but, have you ever wondered what was it like back in the day?
Digging into The Origins of Dentistry
Despite popular opinion, dentistry is said to be one of the oldest medical professions to be practiced. It dates back to 7000 B.C in the Indus Valley Civilization. In Ancient Greece, famous scholars like Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote dentistry including the pattern of teeth eruption, gum disease, tooth extraction, using wire to stabilize loose teeth, and providing support to a fractured jaw.
Their work put great emphasis on dental work especially about treating tooth decay. It was 1530 when the first book was published that was devoted to dentistry. Since then, the world has come a long way from fixing wire into the jaw to installing veneers.
Stone Age and Dental Work
A study carried out by anthropologists Gregorio Oxilia and Stefano Benazzi found that 2 teeth extracted from the body of a person who lived in Northern Italy about 12,740 years ago showed signs of having their infected soft inner tissue removed and filled.
Another study revealed that farmers back from 9,000 years ago sought help from stone tools to extract out the dental cavities. However, the recent finding dates back further than this, indicating that dental work had already been established way before, especially when dealing with tooth decay. Interestingly, the teeth that were extracted came from a man who lived during the Stone Age. These people were not farmers; they hunted meat and gathered nuts, berries, and roots.
This newly found evidence may also point to a ‘trend or a tradition’ prevalent during those times. Their extensive use of teeth for activates like gripping wood, carrying hides, or other material may have altered their jaw’s dynamics leading to teeth damage.
We rarely give credit to the people who once walked the Earth but sometimes what you discover about them may surprise you.