Monday, April 28, 2008

7500-year old dental drills found in Pakistan


I was researching ancient dental health and came across this interesting article:

"Primitive dentists drilled nearly perfect holes into live but undoubtedly unhappy patients between 5500 B.C. and 7000 B.C., an article in Thursday’s issue of the journal Nature reports. Researchers carbon-dated at least nine skulls with 11 drill holes found in a Pakistan graveyard.That means dentistry is at least 4,000 years older than first thought.
This was no mere tooth tinkering. The drilled teeth found in the graveyard were hard-to-reach molars. And in at least one instance, the ancient dentist managed to drill a hole in the inside back end of a tooth, boring out toward the front of the mouth.

The holes went as deep as one-seventh of an inch (3.5 millimeters).


How it was done is painful just to think about. Researchers figured that a small bow was used to drive the flint drill tips into patients’ teeth. Flint drill heads were found on site. So study lead author Roberto Macchiarelli, an anthropology professor at the University of Poitiers, France, and colleagues simulated the technique and drilled through human (but no longer attached) teeth in less than a minute."