Dentists have existed for tens of thousands of years, meaning people have been afraid of going to dentists for tens of thousands of years. For at least 13,000 years old, to be exact, which we now know thanks to two front teeth recently found in Italy with the earliest known use of fillings.
Each tooth has a hole drilled into the tooth that “is quite unusual, not something you see in normal teeth,” Stephano Benazzi, an archaeologist at the University of Bologna, told New Scientist. So Benazzi took a closer look, and what he found is enough to make people afraid of the dental chair shiver.
Inside the teeth were minuscule marks where cavities had been chiseled out using stone tools. The holes were filled with bitumen, “a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation” that is used for road surfacing and roofing today. There was also some plant matter and hair.
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So next time you go to the dentist, just be happy humans have been practicing dentistry for 13,000 years. We’ve come a long way since then.