Tag Archives: prehistoric

Earliest known evidence of dentistry detected in re-examined Paleolithic tooth

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Image via Nature(A) Occlusal view of the RM3. (B) Detailed view of the large occlusal cavity with the four carious lesions and the chipping area on the mesial wall. Section A-A is directed mesio-distally, passing through the larger carious lesion. (C) MicroCT slice of the Villabruna RM3 in correspondence with section A-A.

Image via Nature(A) Occlusal view of the RM3. (B) Detailed view of the large occlusal cavity with the four carious lesions and the chipping area on the mesial wall. Section A-A is directed mesio-distally, passing through the larger carious lesion. (C) MicroCT slice of the Villabruna RM3 in correspondence with section A-A.

Scientists studying a decayed lesion within an ancient wisdom tooth say they have discovered the earliest known evidence of dentistry.

The cavitated third molar belonged to a young man said to have lived and died in Northern Italy during the Late Upper Paleolithic era.

Images from inside the 14,000-year-old tooth, obtained using scanning electron microscopy, disclosed a pattern of chipping and striations that researchers say were made using a tiny stone pick. Continue reading