Egyptian history of dentistry – One of the greatest civilizations of ancient times was the Egyptians. There was a well-defined class system in Egyptian history of dentistry Those within the upper hierarchy often proved to become extraordinary in their field. The system helped to produce some of the most accomplished architects, scientists, and healers. The ancient Egyptians excelled in many areas of science, one of these being dentistry.
Historians have been able to determine that one of the earliest Egyptian history of dentistry was Hesi-Re, who lived about 3100—2981 B.C. during the reign of Zoser. It is felt that he was one of the greatest scientists of his time to be solely concerned with the treatment of dental pain. It is believed that the Egyptians experienced all of the major dental diseases, including caries and periodontal disease.
However, they also suffered from rather unique types of dental problems due to their culture. The basic diet of the Egyptians consisted mainly of herbivorous plants and breads. The bread was made of grains, which were ground on rough stones. This method in Egyptian history of dentistry caused small stones to become incorporated into the bread dough. Unfortunately, they had no means of extracting these stones and they were baked into the bread. This produced a bread which was very coarse in consistency and difficult to chew, without causing dental problems.
The rest of their diet consisted mainly of plants. However, as the area in which the Egyptians lived was very sandy, the plants were quite gritty. This situation caused yet another dental problem. The combination of these two conditions caused extensive wear and attrition of their teeth. This led to problems such as nerve exposure and abscesses. The main dental work available to the Egyptian history of dentistry consisted of extractions and management of dental abscesses. They did not give a high priority to either oral hygiene or preventive care.
Archeologists have never located any type of a toothbrush or dental cleaning device at an Egyptian site. Their main concern appears to have been the treatment of ailments after the onset of disease. It is also interesting to discover that the Egyptians seemed to place more emphasis on some of their dental care after death. Egyptian history of dentistry have learned that the replacement of teeth by artificial means seemed to be accomplished only after death. The Egyptians used to mummify their corpses. However, before this was done, the body was to be as intact as possible, including the replacement of missing teeth. They believed that this ritual helped to repair the person for the after life,
Among the papyri of ancient Egypt is the Ebers papyrus, which throws light on medical practices of Egyptian history of dentistry. It was written between 1700 and 1500 B.C. and contains material dating back as far as 3700 B.C. The Papyrus Ebers contains references to diseases of the teeth, as well as prescriptions for substances such as olive oil, dates, onions, beans, and green lead, to be mixed and applied “against the throbbing of the bennut blisters in the teeth.” An Egyptian lower jaw in Egyptian history of dentistry, dated by experts from 2900 to 2750 B.C., demonstrates two holes drilled through the bone, presumably to drain an abscessed tooth.