THE 14,000 YEAR OLD DENTAL PATIENT

The 14,000 skeleton of a 25 year old from Italy shows signs of dental treatment.

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The skeleton was found in 1988 but the treatment went unobserved until recently. The lower right 3rd molar had evidence of decay but no-one noticed the striation marks make on the decayed area.

Testing showed that these marks were made with small flints used apparently to remove decay.

The fact that these marks showed signs of subsequent wear proves that the 'patient' survived the procedure and continued living for some time afterwards.

In all likelihood it was done without anaesthetic and would have been a very painful experience.
A paleoanthropologist, Stefano Benazi from the university of Bologna, commented that this pushes back the earliest recorded dental treatment by 5,000 years. The treatment is similar to what a patient suffering from tooth decay might undergo today, except that equipment will be sterile and pain killing methods are somewhat more advanced.

Evidence has been found of filling material, in the form of beeswax, has been used as early as 6,500 years ago.

Cavities have been seen as the result of humans turning to a carbohydrate based diet once we moved from hunter-gatherer to farming. But this shows that even before we turned to farming we had sufficient carbohydrate to cause cavities to appear.
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