13,000 Year Old Tooth Filling Are The Oldest Evidence Of Dentistry Known

Humans developed therapeutic dental practices thousands of years before foods such as cereals and honey entered our diet
Humans developed therapeutic dental practices thousands of years before foods such as cereals and honey entered our diet

A pair of 13,000-year-old incisors found contain the earliest known use of fillings – made out of bitumen, or asphalt/cement. This earliest example of dentistry we know to date. The teeth, two upper central incisors belonged to one person and were discovered at the Riparo Fredian site near Lucca in northern Italy.

The results were published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, and show that each tooth has a large hole in the incisor surface that extends down into the pulp chamber deep in the tooth. These holes have tiny horizontal marks that suggest they were drilled out and it appears that bitumen or asphalt was added to the cavity at the same time as the drilling.

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