Broken Tooth Fixed with Beeswax – Marks Oldest Dental Work To Date
In a paper recently published in PLoS One, a group of scientists in Italy report that a human mandible found over a century ago in Slovenia shows evidence for the earliest case of dental work in human history.
The dental work was performed on what scientists believe to have been a man in his late twenties who lived during the Neolithic period. The crack on his left canine showed exposed dentin, and was stuffed with beeswax, though researchers were unable to determine if the beeswax was inserted before or after the man died. With our current understanding of the pain caused by chewing on a cracked tooth, we could only hope the beeswax was inserted before death to relieve some pain and discomfort.
Additionally, thoughts that would make any Dental Geek quiver, the severe wear and tear seen on the tooth was probably due to activities besides eating, the researchers said — for instance, men of the time might have used their teeth to soften leather or help make tools, and the women bit down on threads to hold them while weaving.
It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come and what we’ve learned about oral health over time. For starters, teeth are not to be used as tools, come on!
What do you think about using beeswax for therapeutic dentistry? Did they have something going there 6,500 years ago?