Tooth Provides Dental History

A recent discovery may provide the first tangible proof of dentistry.

A 6,500-year-old tooth was found and it contained traces of beeswax filling, according to the journal PLOS ONE.

The research team from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy determined that the beeswax was placed inside the person’s mouth right around the time the person died. If the beeswax was placed while the person was still alive, the goal was most likely to lower pain and sensitivity in the tooth. The pain likely stemmed from a vertical crack in the enamel and dentin.

The tooth was in poor shape, likely resulting from activities the tooth was involved in other than eating.

There is little proof in recorded history to show when the first usage of dentistry occurred.  This specimen, which was was found in Slovenia, could provide an answer to this question.

This could be considered one of the most ancient examples of dentistry in Europe and it is likely the first instance in which there was some kind of treatment to alleviate pain from a “filling.”