From Ancient Egypt to the Nazis: 16 Horrors of Dentistry Through the Centuries

Early man didn’t really have any tooth worries. Not only did the people in pre-agricultural societies not have any sugar or processed foods to worry about, the life expectancy was so low that you were often dead before tooth rot set in anyway. However, when mankind started to learn how to farm, tooth decay started getting real. Indeed, archaeologists have found evidence that people living more than 15,000 years ago were suffering from cavities. What’s more, they were also using flints to clean their teeth and to even knock rotting teeth out.

Shockingly, such primitive dentistry was to remain the norm for many centuries. While the people of ancient Egypt, Rome or Greece might have been pioneers in many fields, including maths, astronomy and even medicine, their knowledge of oral health was basic to say the least. And this approach to dental health continued right through the Middle Ages. In fact, it was only really with the Enlightenment that real, expert dentists started to emerge. But even then, treatments were carried out without any anaesthetics.

The history of dentistry, therefore, makes for some pretty tough reading. Going to the dentist could be bloody, gory, painful and often even fatal, as the below shows. So, here we present the history of dentistry, blood and all:

Simple bow drills were used to fix cavities more than 9,000 years ago. Ttamil.com.

Bow drills were used 9,000 years ago

Fear of the dentist’s drill is not a new phenomenon. In fact, archaeologists have discovered evidence that humans were facing the trauma of going under the drill some 9,000 years ago. Of course, the equipment used back them was far more primitive than today’s advanced tools. However, the general aim and method was the same – drilling into the tooth to address decay and prevent a cavity from growing any bigger.

The first evidence of ancient peoples using dental techniques goes as far back as 7,000BC. Archaeologists studying the ancient Indus civilization, who settled the Indus Valley between modern-day India and Pakistan, found bow drills they believe were used for primitive dental surgery. With the string of the bow pulled taught, the drill bit would go into the affected tooth and, it was hoped, drain all the infection out. Of course, all this was done slowly and carefully, and all without any anaesthetics to ease the considerable pain.

It’s widely assumed that these first dentists were actually primitive jewellers. During the ancient Indus civilization, jewellery was very popular and bow drills were used to bore holes in beads to make necklaces and bracelets. Since they had the necessary equipment, these beadmakers would also be employed as makeshift dental surgeons, though their excellent hand-eye coordination and precise technique would likely have made up for their lack of medical knowledge. And, of course, if these beadmakers were the first dentists, then their assistants would have been the first dental assistants. After all, at least two other people would have been required to hold the patient down during the painful procedure.

This content was originally published here.

Think before you 3D print: DIY orthodontics receive warning from USC – 3D Printing Industry

Experts from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry at the University of Southern California (USC) have expressed concerns about businesses offering direct-to-customer 3D printed aligner services.

The worry with such services is that patients are missing out on crucial care steps provided by a one-to-one consultation with an orthodontist. This can include jaw x-rays, and general dental health checks, which are fundamental to the overall well-being of the teeth.

USC alumni Nehi Ogbevoen, now an accomplished orthodontist, explains, “There’s a lot of things we can catch on an X-ray — for example, impacted teeth. There are other things we can catch that, if you aren’t seeing a dentist regularly, can be really scary.”

“We not only want to improve aesthetics but also the function of the bite,” he adds,

“We’re trying to plan your bite and smile and how they are going to age over the next 30, 40 years.”

The open-source dental opportunity

In 2016 famed designer Amos Dudley shed significant light on the power of 3D printing in dentistry by creating his own corrective braces at home. The blog charting his homegrown dental care project comes with a disclaimer advising readers against taking such action on their own. However it seems it has sparked some concern within the professional dental market.

Not only this, but entrepreneurs seeking to cash-in on the opportunities offered by dental 3D printing have also started cropping up. And this, in particular, is what comes under scrutiny at USC.

The problem with “DIY” dentistry

As an established brand within dentistry Invisalign is of course a respected business within this sphere. However, “the world’s largest user of state-of-the-art 3D printing technology for making highly accurate, customized aligners,” is not the kind of opportunist targeted by USC critics.

Invisalign requires patients to organize an appointment before seeking treatment. It is instead such businesses that seem to solely operate online that have come under fire. Those that allow a patient to submit their own 3D scanned dental model for consideration, without consultation.

The problem here can be that any existing dental-health conditions can fly under the radar, causing deeper issues for the patient. In particular Hany Youssef, faculty member at the  USC Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, has come face-to-face with a patient who suffered negative side effects due to a condition missed when undertaking this type of “DIY” dental care.

How to get low-cost dental care

Rather than scaremongering though, the recommendation here is that patients should be asking lots of questions before they go ahead with the low-cost alternative. It is also making orthodonists reflect on the high cost of treatment and, USC experts, believe that this new, more convenient approach will have a trickle-down effect on the wider dental industry.

Glenn T. Sameshima, chairman and program director of USC’s Advanced Orthodontics Certificate Program, says accessibility needs to be taken into account. “I see a future,” he adds, “20 to 30 years from now, when they’ll be able to do a combination of clear aligners and braces, with 3D printing bringing these costs down.”

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This content was originally published here.