The earliest signs of crude dentistry techniques point to just how far we’ve come as a civilization. We can all be very glad we’re living in an age of modern technology, when dentistry practices solve just about any dental problem, and current pain management can make a trip to the dentist a positive experience. At Lifetime Family Dental we use state-of-the-art equipment, we’re experienced, and we have a thorough knowledge of dental medicine, so you can rest easy that our Dental Services in Gilbert are in line with the best in modern dental practices. Unlike many of our ancestors in early civilizations, that means your smile can stay white, healthy, and strong.
Earliest Mentions of Dental Work
Timelines on the history of dentistry indicate that very early civilizations living on Earth attempted to solve dental needs by using crude forms of oral care. Some forms were actually effective; others were painful and ineffective. Sources indicate that pre-agricultural societies during the hunter-gatherer era had fewer tooth problems. Because farming enabled the production of a greater supply of food through crop production and domestication of herds and flocks, humans slowly became more sedentary, and their diets changed. As a result, these factors contributed to an increase in tooth decay.
Even so, one of the earliest evidences of dental problems for humans dates back to early civilization on Earth. Using modern scientific instruments, archaeologists have re-examined ancient teeth that were discovered 100 years ago in a region of Croatia. These teeth were attributed to a Neanderthal who had a molar that was out of line and would have caused a great degree of pain. Grooves on the sides of the teeth indicate the use of a tool, made from something like a bone or a stem of grass, that would have helped to alleviate pain. Scientists date this particular specimen to 130,000 years ago.
In the region of Mehgarh, located in modern Pakistan, the teeth of a Stone Age man from about 9,000 years ago indicate that someone used a dental drill made from flint to hollow out the rotting area of a tooth. Surprisingly, the drilling appeared to have been effective! Flint drills continued to be used for about 1500 years, until evidence of their use disappeared from the historical record.
Worms are the Cause of Decay?
It wasn’t until 5,000 B.C. that someone actually wrote about tooth decay. Sumerian writings claimed that tooth worms were the cause of tooth decay, and that idea remained a popular superstitious belief well into the Middle Ages.
As we now know, the cause of tooth decay isn’t worms, but bad bacteria which can lead to the formation of plaque. That’s one good reason to brush your teeth two times each day, and to floss regularly. Flossing removes food particles from those hard-to-reach areas of your teeth, and brushing takes care of the general, daily cleaning. In addition, remember to schedule your biannual dental cleanings and checkups so your hygienist can remove any plaque buildup with a professional, modern tool that we promise is not made of flint!
For up-to-date Dental Services in Gilbert Arizona, give us a call at Lifetime Family Dental. We’ll gently take care of all your needs, and with the highest quality care. As for more interesting facts related to dental history, check out our future blog posts, where we’ll look at ancient Egyptian dental care, and more!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/4/2018) Geoff Scott (Stocksnap)