Broken Tooth Fixed with Beeswax – Marks Oldest Dental Work To Date

Author: Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.
09.27.12 / 12:40 pm

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?

Michael McCarthy

Michael McCarthy

As the Chief Dental Geek, Michael McCarthy is the vision behind The Dental Geek blog and its purpose. Well known throughout the dental world, our seasoned geek Michael serves on several industry boards. Keep your eyes out for his popular articles and lists about all the most talked about topics in dentistry.

2 responses to “Broken Tooth Fixed with Beeswax – Marks Oldest Dental Work To Date”

  1. Yes we can say that an ancient cracked tooth repaired with a filling which is made of beeswax may be the earliest known example of therapeutic dentistry.In the research the scientist also figure out the age of the beeswax by using a large ion accelerator and they came to know about what carbon isotopes were in the wax. All isotopes of carbon have six protons but they are different in the number of neutrons they possess.

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