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Tooth fillings 6500 years ago consisted of wax lumps
Tooth fillings also existed in the Stone Age. This is evidenced by a 6500 year old tooth with beeswax filling, which researchers discovered in Slovenia. The oldest piece of evidence for dentistry in Europe was probably used to relieve toothache. However, the exact time of dental treatment can no longer be determined.
Historic tooth filling from beeswax discovered in Slovenia There were tooth fillings in the Neolithic Age. This is evidenced by the discovery of a jawbone with a tooth filled with beeswax, as Federico Bernardini from the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste and his research team report.
"This discovery is perhaps the oldest evidence of prehistoric dentistry in Europe and the earliest known example of a therapeutic pain-relieving tooth filling," reports Bernardini, who presents the find in the science magazine "PLoS One". Unfortunately, the exact time of the dental treatment can no longer be determined. The scientists suspect that beeswax was inserted into the tooth either shortly before or shortly after the death of the Neolithic man. “If the filling was still in use during the lifetime of humans, the intention was very likely to relieve them of pain due to exposed tooth necks or of pain when chewing on a tooth with a crack in the tooth enamel,” write the scientists.
The researchers examined the find with different analysis methods such as micro-computed tomography, radiocarbon dating and infrared spectroscopy. Since there have hardly been any such finds to date, the beeswax filling can help to gain better insight into Stone Age dentistry, the science magazine says.
Stone Age dental treatment with a drill In the burial ground of Mehrgarh in Baluchistan in southwest Pakistan, an international team of researchers led by Roberto Macchiarelli from the French University of Poitiers discovered 9000-year-old molars in which drill holes were clearly visible. As the researchers reported in the British magazine "Nature" in 2006, there were already dental treatments with drills at that time.
The purpose for which the drill was engaged can only be guessed at. Some of the teeth showed signs of tooth decay, so that a therapeutic purpose is obvious. After a long time, however, no evidence of tooth fillings could be found, the researchers reported. Aesthetic reasons as the cause of the procedure can, however, be excluded, since only the posterior molars were drilled. As Macchiarelli reported at the time, the dental treatment was painful for the patient in any case. (ag)
Image: Maja Dumat / pixelio.de