Ancient Cosmetic Dentistry and Restorative Dentistry Treatments

Cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry have been around for thousands of years with ancient civilizations trying some odd and often bizarre techniques to brush, floss, whiten, repair, and embellish teeth.


Before the humble toothbrush hit the scene, people would clean their teeth with water and a rough cloth. Some would rub chalk or salt on their teeth and gums to get rid of the dirt.

Ancient Egyptians made their own toothbrush out of a twig that was split on the end to act like a brush, while the ancient Chinese used flavored twigs to fresh their breath.


For toothpaste, the ancient Romans and Greeks would use a paste made from crushed bones and oyster shells while other civilizations used burned eggshells and ashes from ox hooves.

Dental Fillings

One of the earliest forms of restorative dentistry was discovered in Pakistan. Dating to 7000 BC, bow drills were found that were used to drill teeth. Reconstruction shows that this early form of restorative dentistry was quite effective.

The oldest dental filling, discovered in Slovenia in 2012, consisted of a tooth packed with beeswax. Although archaeologists are not sure if it was effective, it probably helped reduce swelling and pain.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Masters of cosmetic dentistry, the Mayans decorated their teeth with precious stones that were embedded into the fronts of their teeth. Some archaeologists have unearthed skulls that are carved with grooves and notches. For the stones, the Mayan dentists would chip out small holes filling them with a natural resin, such as tree sap and crushed bones before placing jade, lapis, or other semi precious stones into the tiny holes. Those early cosmetic dentists mush have known what they were doing, as they were able to drill into the tooth without disturbing the tooth pulp.

Thankfully, you don’t have to resort to brushing your teeth with a twig or filling a cavity with beeswax. Modern day cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry makes it easy to have a beautiful smile.

Call or click and schedule your no obligation cosmetic dentistry consultation with Centerport Dental in Downtown Portland today.

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