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Signs of ancient dentistry discovered by European researchers


Scientists from universities in Australia and Italy collaborated on a study of ancient human tooth remains, and announced in a recent article that they discovered hints of dental work performed by our ancestors.

Utilizing a 6,500-year-old set of teeth, the group of researchers were initially looking for evidence about the diet of people in extinct civilizations. It was during their investigation that they discovered small filling-like implants made primarily from beeswax.

The report from the team, which was published through the open-source scientific journal PLOS-One, suggested that whoever the prehistoric dentist was, he or she was probably trying to administer some level of pain relief.

"If the filling was done when the person was still alive, the intervention was likely aimed to relieve tooth sensitivity derived from either exposed dentine and/or the pain resulting from chewing on a cracked tooth," the authors wrote.

The scientists came to this conclusion because they discovered that the tooth in question seemed to be cracked. As most people who have experienced such an ailment know, this condition can can inhibit daily activities, such as eating. The injury could have been due to an injury in a fight or from using teeth in some form of labor, the source said. The group also found evidence of enamel erosion and chipping, which may have prompted the ancient medical provider to create a semi-permanent solution to the tooth ache.

This discovery highlights the fact that humanity has strived to find solutions to dental problems for thousands of years, though readers who suffer from cavities should probably avoid beeswax fillings. Instead, they can contact their family dentist to diagnose and treat any issues.