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If you think going to the dentist is a pain now, you’d hate to experience some of the earliest forms of dentistry. While it’s hard to imagine oral surgery without anesthesia, medications and more, oral surgery actually began at a time when these advancements didn’t exist. Some of the first oral surgery was performed by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Etruscans. Here are a some of the most common dental procedures in ancient societies:


1 ) Egyptian Dentistry

Egyptians were knowledgeable of the human anatomy, as they drained the blood and extracted the organs when mummifying bodies. Manuals were written about how to mend bones, perform surgical procedures and cure bites and stings. One of these documents was the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, which provides instructions on how to heal and treat wounds in the mouth. This was written sometime before 3000 BC. It seems from writing and evidence that people still believed at the time that the teeth were considered untreatable The earliest signs of dental surgery in Egypt date back to between 3000 and 2500 BC. This typically involved pulling teeth and drilling out cavities. There has never been any evidence of false teeth being used in Ancient Egypt.


2) Greek Dentistry

While it’s hard to believe that cavities can kill a person, a mummy was discovered of a young man who died of a basic sinus infection that was caused from a number of painful cavities. He was in his twenties or early thirties, but he died because Greek dentists had difficulty curing his cavities. There was linen soaked in medicine that was packed into the holes in his teeth, but this was simply to alleviate the pain. Cloth in the tooth also prevented food from getting in the area. Greeks often dealt with pain rather than having teeth pulled because many Greeks prided themselves in their strength and ability to handle pain.


3) Etruscan Dentistry

Etruscan people were constantly increasing their knowledge and working to improve their image. In many ways, they were the first to get artistic with their dentistry. They tested many boundaries in the medical field, and they held luxury in high priority. Their courageous personalities were evident in their courage to travel across the seas in order to trade with other civilizations. Their travels provided them not only with goods but with ideas. They used the knowledge of dentistry that they gained through travel to make their own advances in the field. They began experimenting with filling gold teeth. One preserved mouth that was discovered had gold bands around the teeth. The bands were cemented by soldering with heat. Both human and animal teeth were utilized as artificial teeth, and gold bands were used to hold them in place. This process, performed in 700 BC, was the first time in history that any type of prosthetics were ever used in the mouth.


There is an entire host of evidence demonstrating the ways ancient societies practiced dentistry. Dental procedures may be painful or stressful to some now, but dentistry has come a long way since this early practices of dentistry.