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Did Ancient People Have Cosmetic Dentistry?

September 8, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — therouxdental @ 2:22 pm
A mother and daughter looking at some ancient examples of cosmetic dentistry

When you think of ancient people, you probably think of big pyramids, epic monuments, and using spears to hunt woolly mammoths. If you’re a tooth nerd, the picture might be a lot different. Ancient people were using their technology to perform cosmetic dentistry and improve their smiles from the time of the Pharaohs and beyond.

If you’re curious about the kinds of treatments your ancestors used, continue reading. You may be surprised by the answer.

The Dentures of the Etruscans

The Etruscans were an ancient people that lived in Italy somewhere between the 10th and 1st century BCE. They left behind a mountain of artifacts from their culture, such as tombs, temples, statues, pottery, jewelry, and teeth!

Archeologists discovered that the Etruscans tried to replace missing teeth with ivory, bone, and teeth from other humans and animals. Imagine asking your dentist for a mountain lion tooth replacement today!

Roman Style Toothpaste

The Etruscans made their mark on another ancient civilization, the Romans. Though, it’s a long shot to think that they came up with the Roman equivalent of Zoom!

Evidence suggests that Roman people used their own urine mixed with cow’s milk to remove stains and give themselves a sparkling smile. Luckily, there are better options today, but the science at the time made sense. Ammonia does make an effective whitening agent.

Whitening Treatments in Medieval Times

Barbers today are hair specialists, but in medieval times they were trained in multiple disciplines from surgery to dentistry. One of their well-known treatments was for whitening teeth.

The barber would file the enamel of their patient’s teeth and use a coating to turn them white. However, the coating often also took the teeth with it, necessitating the need for removal and replacement with “dentures” made from ivory or the teeth of the deceased.

Tooth Replacement in the Age of Enlightenment

Far from the dental practices of medieval barbers and urine toothpaste, dentists in the 1700s and 1800s began using porcelain to create crowns and other tooth replacements after discovering that the metal fillings they were using were being rejected.

Sometimes it takes looking back at the past to realize where treatments are in the present. Today, cosmetic dentistry is safer, cheaper, and more aesthetically pleasing than ever before in human history. If you’ve been meaning to get some treatment yourself, give your dentist a call.

About the Practice

At Theroux Dental Associates, your oral health and well-being is the top priority. Their team of talented and professional dentists takes pride in the close relationships they form with their patients over time, establishing trust and confidence. Their office offers an open and friendly environment to cater to your needs. To schedule a cosmetic consultation, call (508) 839-2262 or visit the website to learn more.

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