Tracing Orthodontics Back To Its Roots In Ancient Dentistry

The orthodontic work that makes your beautiful smile possible wouldn’t exist without modern dentistry. And modern dentistry wouldn’t be anywhere without thousands of years of practice. Seriously—imagine a time when the only cure for a toothache was to yank out the tooth!

Looking at the days before anesthetic and electricity can be scary, so we hope you’re in the Halloween mood.

Some First Evidence Of Dental Work

Some of the oldest evidence of dental work was found fairly recently in a 6500-year-old jawbone. A cavity deep enough to impact the dentin layer of the tooth (very painful) was filled with beeswax. Scientists aren’t sure how effective this was, but it probably reduced the pain and swelling.

Dental Care Found In Mummies

In ancient Egypt, reconstructive work was rare—but when they did it, they really did it. This bridge was made by stringing wire through donor teeth, tied to surrounding teeth (makes you wonder if the donors volunteered). These dentists also focused on preventative care. Recipes have been found for early breath mints—a concoction of cinnamon, frankincense, and honey.

Earliest Cosmetic Dentistry?

Proud of your colorful braces? We think the ancient Mayans would probably have been fans, too. Back then, it was fashionable to have your teeth embedded with precious stones. Tiny holes were chipped out of teeth and colorful gems were glued in. But their bling didn’t ALSO straighten their teeth, so be glad that yours is doing double-duty.

Modern Dentistry Rocks

We’ve come a long way in 6500 years. From detecting cavities before they’re visible to the naked eye, to reconstructive work that restores functionality and health, to orthodontic work that creates drop-dead gorgeous smiles. Best of all, we don’t have to bear the pain and discomfort that people suffered during centuries gone by.

Our team hopes you had fun taking a look at ancient dentistry. And remember that if ever you have any questions about modern procedures, or about your orthodontic work, always ask us!

Be Sure To Brush And Floss After That Halloween Candy!

Have a wonderful holiday. Be sure you Like our Facebook page! And, if you have a comment about how grateful you are for modern dentistry and orthodontics, please share it below!

As always, thank you for being our valued patients and friends.

Photo Credit 1: The oldest dental filling: A 6,500 year old tooth with a beeswax filling (within the yellow dotted line). Bernardini F, Tuniz C, Coppa A, Mancini L, Dreossi D, et al. PLoS ONE
Photo Credit 2: The Citizen Scientists League
Photo Credit 3: José C. Jiménez López