Ancient Tooth Reveals Evidence of Early Human Dentistry

First Posted: Sep 20, 2012 09:04 AM EDT

The researchers from the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Italy discovered an ancient dentistry.

The ancient dentistry is in the form of a 6,500 year old human jaw bone with a tooth that exhibit traces of beewax filling.                       

The study that was led by Federico Bernardini and Claudio Tuniz was carried in the Sept 19. in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The study conducted in cooperation with Sincrotrone Trieste and other institutions found that beeswax was applied around the time of the individual's death, but failed to confirm whether it was before or after.

If it is before death, they assume that it was used to reduces the pain and sensitivity from a vertical crack in the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth.

According to Tuniz, "the severe wear of the tooth is probably also due to its use in non-alimentary activities, possibly such as weaving, generally performed by Neolithic females."

According to the researchers the new ancient tooth provides useful insight into early dental practices.

"This finding is perhaps the most ancient evidence of pre-historic dentistry in Europe and the earliest known direct example of therapeutic-palliative dental filling so far," says Bernardini.

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