Amazing Restorative Dental Work



This photo of a specimen from the Louvre was not accompanied by any explanatory text, and just a modicum of identifying information.
Bridge consists of a gold wire ligature of female human teeth.
Place of discovery: Sayda.
Period: 6th century BC

There is a town in Saxony, Germany called Sayda, but since this specimen comes from a "Near Eastern Antiquities" fund, the Sayda referred to is apparently the one in Lebanon.  Regarding the work itself, one presumes that the two outermost teeth were still embedded in the jaw, since the gold wire wraps around them, and that the four center teeth with wire underneath them were fashioned into a bridge to serve a cosmetic (?and masticatory?) function.  Perhaps someone with dental restorative experience can offer a more enlightened opinion.

The mind-numbing aspect of the specimen is, of course, the prehistoric date.  One doesn't expect this degree of sophistication in 500 BC, although two-and-a-half millennia ago dental implants were being performed in Mesoamerica by the Maya.

Link (and a photo of other side of teeth), via Titam.

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I just went and read the report Titam linked to. I know I post a little late but it can still benefit. Basicaly they say that this is presumably from a female, at least 2 of the teeth were from another human. They date it to 4th century BC. There is not a lot of information on this one but there is an exhaustive history of many such bridges uncovered in different part of the world. This one seems to be one of the least documented.
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Alex most likely they used a small bow-drill with a stone-tipped drillbit. Even back in those days they used that same kind of drill in the goldsmith's art. They had several herbs to sedate the patient, so all in all it will not have been all that different from some dentists-practices as you see them in China, Africa or even South America.
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Titam, thank you so much for the link to that French thesis; this prosthesis is discussed beginning on page 33 of that work. From what I can tell they consider it to be either Etruscan work or a Mideast copy of such work. I would add that since it was found in a grave but not attached to a body, it might have travelled as booty of war for its gold content and not be a local item.
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As a dentist, I find this type of work amazing. This is a fixed prosthetic device similar in theory to what is used now. The two teeth on the extreme ends are called abutment teeth. I would like to see the specimen in person since the tooth to the left in the photograph looks as though it has a post in it. The tooth to the right is obviously fractured slightly below the cementoenamel junction. Thanks for linking to this!
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