Dentistry: so you want to know how it all began. Well, its background penetrates more deeply than the roots of your teeth. Here is a brief sketch of important events in ancient dentistry:
The earliest solid evidence of dental work is a prehistoric infected tooth from old-world Italy that contains evidence of a cleaning with flint tools. Amazingly, this tooth is over 14,000 years old.
Sumerian manuscript was written in 5000 B.C., not terribly long after writing was first invented, and this is the first known text about dentistry. It speculates that “tooth worms” may be the cause of dental decay – an idea that was not completely thrown away until the 1800s A.D.
The first known “dentist” was an ancient Egyptian called Hesy-Re. He passed away around 2600 B.C. We know this because part of his tomb epitaph calls him “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians”.
Other ancient texts depict important discoveries in treating teeth. First, the Ebers Papyrus, ancient Egyptian manuscript from around 1700-1550 BC, describes diseases of the teeth and toothache treatments. And from 500-300 BC, Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote about the pattern of eruption above the gum line, proper teeth extraction, and the treatment of gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw fractures.
Of course, humans didn’t just write about dentistry. There is even archeological evidence that Etruscans of old Italy performed successful teeth replacement treatments – that of gold crowns and fixed bridges – only 100 or so years after the birth of Christ.
Want to experience the wonders of modern dentistry? Just call 208-343-4732 to make an appointment with Dr. Matthew Fethke and his fantastic team at High Desert Dental in Boise, Idaho.