ANCIENT DENTISTRY- प्राचीन दंत चिकित्सा ( Pracheen Dant chikitsa)-Part-2
American way of life: old illustration of a barber shop. Created by Job, published on L'Illustration, Journal Universel, Paris, 1857

ANCIENT DENTISTRY- प्राचीन दंत चिकित्सा ( Pracheen Dant chikitsa)-Part-2

Do you know when the caries started to appear in humans. You will be surprised to know that with the discovery of the grains (approx. 12000 years ago) and when man started to use them as food, caries appearance started in humans. History of dental caries is as old as the humans started to socialize and started farming.

India Produced First Dentist:

The First evidence of dental treatment was found during Indus Valley civilization. About 7000 B.C. dentistry was in practice in India (now in Pakistan). A specific tool called Bow Drill was used by that time to clean the tooth from decayed portion by skilled craftsman. The reconstruction of this tool was found quite effective and reliable in drilling the tooth by today’s researchers. This was the only tool available from ancient time to prove that our ancestors also faced the same dental problems as we have today. But imagine it was not under any sedation or local anesthesia.

9 people teeth were found with drilled molars and the survived the treatment, during Neolithic age around 9000 BC. The drilled tooth were recovered from 300 more graves which shows that drilling with Bow Drill was a common practice at that time. This drilling remained common dental treatment for approximately 1500years, then suddenly disappeared with the disappearance of Indus Valley civilization. No further record or advanced tool were found in later periods.

Dental caries were less frequent than worn-out of teeth. Anthropologist relate them to Neolithic diet, which included newly domesticated wheat and barley. ” A lot of stone particles get mixed in the flour when the wheat grains were grounded on stone”

Similar drilling doesn’t recur until later, among the Anasazi Indians of the southwest U. S around 1100A.D. And in Europe around 1500 A. D. No evidence have been found that the Chalcolithic or copper age, people ever visited the dentist.

Ancient dentistry in China :

China has contributed to much of modern dentistry. They started use of Arsenic about 1000 A. D. They also used silver amalgam as tooth filling.

Chinese people used medicines to treat dental pain. A well know ancient Chinese medicine book” The Canon of medicine” also contains the medicine for dental treatment. They have studied the oral manifestations of systemic disease like they have known that prior to measles white patches appear in the mouth.

They have studied the dentistry relating to the abscesses of teeth and other oral structures. Finally, the Chinese surgeons delved extensively into surgery techniques of the oral cavity.

For example, there are written documentation in Chinese history of dentistry regarding tumor removal and surgical repair due to trauma. They also dealt extensively with early repair of cleft palates, lip, and other congenital defects.

Ancient dentistry in Egypt :

The ancient Egyptian medical text known as “The book of Papyrus” is the oldest known written book on Trauma. The book is supposed to be written around 3000 B.C. has the treatment written for treating and healing of oral wounds.

The detail treatment for mouth problems are written in the BOOK but still the original teeth were considered as non treatable.Out of 150 persons who are recorded as being medical personnel in ancient Egypt, only nine are recognized as dentists. And these nine dentist were divided in to two categories ‘one who is concerned with teeth’ usually regarded as a dentist, and ‘one who deals with teeth’. Hesyre was the first recorded dentist in history, only chief of dentists but also chief of physicians in Egypt.

Hooton was first raised surgical treatment of dental abscesses in 1917, following his visual and radio graphic study of an ancient Egyptian mandible, dating to about 2,500 BC. The teeth of the mandible showed considerable wear, with the lower right first molar having a pulpal exposure and an associated apical infection. Hooton noted two small holes penetrating the outer cortical plate above the mental foramen and in the direction of the anterior root of this tooth. He claimed that due to the upward angulation of the holes, their artificial symmetrical appearance and the apparent thickness of bone they had transversed, the holes were the result of man-made drillings, affected in order to drain the pus from the apical abscess.

However,  Leek when examining a comparable ancient Egyptian mandible found a similar situation of tooth wear and abscess formation, also having circular holes that were extremely cleanly cut and penetrating through sound tissue. He also noted that the direction of the hole was from behind forward, a direction impossible to perform with a straight drill due to the presence of the intervening soft tissues. Such a hole could only have been drilled with a right angled drill, technology that was not available in Dynastic Egypt. He concluded that these holes were not drilled in an operative procedure but were the result of a pathological process caused by the dissolution of bone by pus.

‘Prosthetic appliances’ that have been documented from ancient Egypt, the best known example consists of a mandibular second molar connected by gold wire to a worn third molar. It was discovered at Giza, near Cairo in a burial shaft dating to approximately 2,500 BC and importantly not found attached to a skull.