Restorative Dentistry: 6,500 Years And Counting?

A prehistoric tooth containing traces of beeswax used as cavity filler has sent a ripple of excitement throughout the dental industry. The tooth was discovered as part of a human mandible—or jawbone—in Slovenia near Trieste. There is very little evidence of prehistoric dentistry, thus any finding of this nature is of extreme significance. In light of this astounding finding, your Lake Forest dentist, Dr. Fondriest, has put together a brief dental timeline.

Abbreviated Dental Timeline

With so many technological advances occurring in the last 50 years, it’s hard to imagine that the practice of dentistry, in various forms, has been ongoing for over 8,000 years. By the Middle Ages, dental extraction was commonly used for a variety of maladies and carried out by barbers or general physicians. Clearly, the realm of dentistry has made great strides over the years.

7000 BC—The Indus Valley Civilization, located in what is now Pakistan, practiced what is considered the earliest form of dentistry. Tooth-related disorders were cured by the use of bow drills.

6500 BC—The approximate age of the beeswax-filled tooth discovered last week. It is not yet know if the filling was applied posthumously or during the person’s life.

5000 BC—A Sumerian text describes a “tooth worm” as the cause of dental caries.

3000 BC—In Ancient Egypt, Hesi-Re is the first named “dentist.” Egyptians used gold wire to bind together replacement teeth.

1800 BC—Dental extraction is twice mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi, although it is mentioned as a form of punishment.

460-340 BC—Famed Greek scholars, Hippocrates and Aristotle, wrote about the eruption pattern of teeth as well as tooth decay, gum disease, and the use of wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws.

50 AD—Roman encyclopaedist, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, wrote extensively about oral diseases, as well as various dental treatments.

14th Century—Guy de Chauliac invents the “dental pelican,” a primitive forceps so named due to its resemblance to the bird’s beak.

1685—The first dental textbook written in English, Operator for the Teeth, by Charles Allen, is published.

1728—French physician, Pierre Fauchard, publishes The Surgeon Dentist. Fauchard has been credited as the “father of modern dentistry,” and some of his many contributions include operative methods of tooth restoration, as well as a scientific explanation of dentistry.

To Schedule An Appointment

If you have any questions about restorative or cosmetic dentistry, you should contact Lake Forest Dental Arts to set up a consultation with Dr. Fondriest. To schedule an appointment, call our Lake Forest dentist office at 847-234-0517. We proudly serve patients from Lake Forest and all other surrounding communities.

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