After reading the following, it will be pretty easy to respect modern dentistry. Today’s treatments and techniques are relatively pain free – even the most severe cases – showing just how far dentistry has come in the last few thousand years. So without further ado, here are some examples of dentistry techniques practised by ancient civilisations.
The ancient Egyptians are known to have taken great care of their health including dental hygiene. As only the royals tended to have dentists, the professional therefore was highly respected. But even so, many of the treatments were a bit hit and miss, with dentists using mostly spiritual and herbal remedies. Despite being practised years ago, however, many of the herbs the ancient Egyptians used are still found in modern medicine today.
Although the Egyptians did tend to steer towards herbal and spiritual remedies, they were still pioneers in dentistry. Various forms of oral surgery were practised, as were the extraction of teeth and replacing them with prostheses. And the cause of these dental health issues? Tooth worms; a belief that continued right into the Middle Ages.
Like many aspects of science and maths, dentistry really took off in the times of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Hippocrates and Aristotle both wrote about dentistry, including how to treat tooth decay, how to extract teeth using forceps and even how to stabilise fractured jaws. The Romans were less enthusiastic about dentistry, although they did still adopt many of the Greek techniques.
The ancient Chinese civilisation is believed to have been practising dentistry from 6000BC and were the inventors of the tooth-brush. They used two kinds; first a brush made from the bristle of hair from a pig, and the other (also used elsewhere around the world) a wooden chew-stick. They, just like the ancient Egyptians, treated tooth problems with herbal remedies, although they did also turn to acupuncture, too, to relieve dental pain.
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