Archaeological evidence of the dentistry of antiquity suggests that treatment included medical methods of combating dental affections, mechanical means of treatment such as retentive prosthesis and the art of applying artificial substitutes for lost dental structures.

Dental History: It is believed that the oldest civilization that knew something of dentistry was Egypt. The earliest indication of such knowledge is found in the Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus. It contains detailed directions for the treatment of wounds about the mouth, but no mention is made of restoring lost teeth resulting from these injuries. The hard tissues of the mouth were in general considered untreatable. In closing his discussion on this topic one ancient Egyptian surgeon advises: "One having a fracture of the mandible over which a wound has been inflicted and he has fever from it, it is an ailment not to be treated".

Proving prehistoric man’s ingenuity, researchers have found that dental drilling dates back 9,000 years. Primitive dentists drilled nearly perfect holes into teeth of live patients between 5500 and 7000 B.C. Researchers recently carbon-dated at least nine skulls with 11 drill holes found in a grave-yard in Pakistan. This means dentistry is at least 4,000 yrs older than first thought.

Researchers figured that a small bow was used to drive the flint drill tips into patients’ teeth. Flint drill heads were found on site. This dental drilling probably evolved from intricate ornamental bead drilling.

The drilled teeth found in the graveyard were hard-to-reach molars. Although it is speculated that the drilling could have been decorative or to release “evil spirits” more than fighting tooth decay, the hard-to-see locations of the drilled teeth in jaws seem to rule out drilling for decorative purposes. No sign of fillings were found.