Recent evidence proves dentistry practiced 14,000 years ago

According to a recent Telegraph article by Nick Squires, evidence has been unearthed by a team of Italian scientists that may prove ancient humans conducted dentistry on one another as far back as 14,000 years ago. This evidence usurps the previously held belief that the earliest examples of dentistry occurred 9,000 years ago.

The team of archaeologists were examining the remains of a hunter-gatherer who was found near the town of Belluno in the Dolomites in 1988. The skeleton was found in a valley, inside a rock shelter in a shallow pit. He was surrounded by what scientists assume were the hunter’s prized possessions: a flint knife, a hammer, a flint blade, and a sharp piece of bone. The hunter appeared to be twenty-five years old at the time of his death.

While examining one of the hunter’s molars, scientists discovered evidence that the tooth had been infected at one point and that rotten material had been extracted from the tooth with a stone tool, probably a shard of flint.

The research group’s leader, Stefano Banazzii, explained that the evidence suggests “that in the Upper Palaeolithic era, humans were aware of the damaging effects of cavity infections and of the necessity of treating them, using stone instruments to remove the infected material and to clean out the cavity.”

Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in developing tools and methods for treating our cavities. At the office of Dr. Sid K. Steadman D.D.S., you’ll find a variety of far more comfortable treatment options for your dental needs than shards of flint. Speak with a member of our friendly team to make an appointment by calling (512) 259-3365 today.