For as long as humans have had teeth, they’ve had cavities. And those cavities required even the most primitive care.
Recently, scientist discovered 14,000-year-old evidence of cavity treatment. A large hole was originally mistaken as a severe cavity but turned out to be the work of stone tools used to scrape away tooth decay.
Take a look at how cavity treatment evolved through the years:
7000 B.C. — Eleven molars show evidence of early drilling, most likely done with a flint drill bit and bow-drill.
4500–3500 B.C. — Humans living in Slovenia had cavities filled with beeswax.
500–300 B.C. — Written text from Hippocrates and Aristotle describes extracting rotten teeth with forceps.
80 B.C. — Egyptians “pack” teeth with linen and medicine to prevent particles from getting into the cavity.
A.D. 166–201 — Etruscans had primitive gold crowns as dental prosthetics for the upper class.
A.D. 700 — Ancient Chinese text describes silver paste — the earliest known form of amalgam — being used to fill cavities.
Although the work was rough, these ancient dentists mimicked the handiwork of their predecessors. Modern dentistry also treats cavities by removing decayed areas of a tooth…yet we have the luxury of sterile tools, numbing agents, and advanced filling materials.