Ancient animal teeth dentures have been discovered in a grave more than four thousand years old!
Modern dentures are a great cosmetic and restorative dental device to replace missing teeth, but did you know that ancient “cosmetic dentists” were using animal teeth to create decorative dentures more than four thousand years ago!? The oldest skeletal remains in Mesoamerica were discovered in the volcanic highlands of West-Central Mexico and date between 2570 B.C. and 2322 B.C. This discovery shocked archeologists, as it appears that a man had undergone ancient cosmetic dentistry to have an animal tooth denture attached! In modern cosmetic dentistry, dentures are used to replace missing teeth and restore functionality after tooth loss. Upon studying the remains, scientists discovered that the bottom row of teeth were worn down to the expected 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. Ancient dentistry procedures were undertaken without effective anesthetic! The man’s 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 anesthetic, 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 thousands of years ago. Dr. Curtis Couch is a highly experienced cosmetic dentist based in Thousand Oaks. He can provide highly advanced cosmetic and restorative dental treatments in a comfortable and anxiety free environment. Dr. Curtis Couch can replace teeth via the use of modern dentures or highly advanced dental implants. To find out more about this cosmetic dentist in Thousand Oaks, please contact us.