AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health


1. The Dental Drill — 7,000 BC

You probably don’t imagine the members of ancient peoples being smart enough to understand the necessity to drill holes into teeth, but a recent discovery in Pakistan has uncovered that the oldest dental drills came into being in around the year 7,000 BC. For comparison, Mesopotamia, the world’s oldest civilization, didn’t start until around 5300 BC. In fact, the English Channel that separates the UK from Continental Europe didn’t form until about 6,000 BC. Yet, people were drilling holes into teeth like we do today for many dental procedures. Admittedly, these dental drills were pretty primitive–similar to the bow and stick “technology” they teach Boy Scouts to start a fire with, except they drilled holes instead of starting fires. And yes, it probably took a long time to drill any sort of hole with just a carved stick. So be thankful that modern dental technology gets the procedure done much quicker!

img Dental Technologies ID 878 5 Dental Technologies That Are Older Than You Thought

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2. Braces — 400 BC

Though there’s some evidence that the teeth-straightening device has existed since around 2,000 BC, there are definite records that the Father of Western Medicine, Hippocrates, and famous historical philosopher Aristotle wrote about several topics of dentistry including the use of wired devices to aid in the straightening of teeth. Though modern braces wouldn’t be invented until many centuries later, it’s funny to think that at one moment Aristotle might’ve been thinking about the meaning of life and the next how to make his teeth look straighter.

3. Crowns and Bridges — 175 AD

The Etruscans were a civilization based in what is now modern day Italy. Contemporaries of the Romans, the Etruscans are the first civilization that we know of to implement the practice of crowns and bridgework to improve the cosmetic needs of those without teeth. Considering the complexity of the process, (building a fake tooth and attaching it to the two surrounding teeth) it’s impressive that a 2nd century civilization was able to utilize these dental procedures that are still in wide usage today.

4. Dental Implants — 600 AD

Dental Implants often seem to be such a modern dental technology to the layman, and even to those of us in the dental industry. However, the first primitive attempts at dental implant procedures must be credited to the Mayan Civilization. Back in 1931, several archaeologists discovered a human skull with an early form of dental implants at a Mayan Burial Site. On the lower mandible of the jaw, experts noticed that three of the teeth were not made from natural materials, but rather from pieces of shell. Which goes to show that even if the Spaniards wiped them out and they incorrectly predicted the end of the world, they still managed to beat the rest of human civilization by nearly 1,400 years, until 1952 when Dr. Leonard Linkow implanted his first dental implant.

5. Dentists …sort of — 1,200 AD

Though there were definitely people who practiced dentistry before such as Egyptian Scribe Hesy-Re (2,600 BC) who is often called the “first dentist.” Dentistry may have been popularized initially by none other than …barbers? Around the 13th century AD the Guild of Barbers was established in France. Barbers in this time period filled a multitude of roles including cutting hair, shaving men and strangely enough, extracting teeth. Though the barbers were able to perform some oral “surgeries” such as tooth extraction, they never received formal training and weren’t in the business of preventative care so much as tooth removal. Though the “barber-surgeon” as a profession eventually died out, this strange combination of professions was one of the first means by which common people had access to dentistry much as people do from dentists today.

About the Author: Dr. Robert D’Alfonso is the owner of Lakeway Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, a dentist office based in Lakeway, Texas. Specializing in Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. D’Alfonso is a “sustaining” member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and one of only five such members in the greater Austin, Texas area.


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