Ancient Animal Tooth Dentures!

Dentures are a great modern dental device to replace missing teeth, but did you know that ancient “dentists” were using animal teeth to create decorative dentures more than four thousand years ago?

Skeletal remains were discovered in the volcanic highlands of West-Central Mexico (which is the oldest known burial site in Mesoamerica) and date between 2570 B.C. and 2322 B.C. These remains were remarkable as it appears that the man had undergone ancient dentistry to have an animal tooth denture attached!

Scientists discovered that the bottom row of teeth were worn down to normal levels, but the upper front teeth were intentionally filed down to make room for the denture, perhaps that of a jaguar or wolf. The individual was 28 – 32 years old when he died, and contrary to what the rugged environment he lived in would require, he lived a sedentary life – indicating that he was cared for as a ceremonial leader of some sort.

His teeth were filed down over a long period of time to accommodate a ceremonial denture that would have been inserted into the upper jaw. Spending many hours with the dentist – without the aid of anaesthetic, the patient would have experienced excruciating pain as his teeth were filed down to the nub – exposing the pulp cavities.

This drastic historic dental makeover may have generated an infection in the tooth pulp – leading to the patient’s death.

Fortunately at Northern Beaches Dental, we practice modern dentistry – and offer a range of anaesthetic options to make your dental visit as painless and comfortable as possible. We will never, ever, install a denture made from jaguar or wolf – we guarantee it!

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