Thursday, April 06, 2006
Credit: Roberto Macchiarelli, Université de Poitiers
If you think going to the dentist is an exercise in agony, you ain't heard nothing yet. Anthropologists digging in a neolithic cemetary in Pakistan have found evidence that Stone Age 'dentists' used flint tipped drills to relieve pain in people's teeth. Several examples, from 7 different bodies, showed evidence of holes drilled in infected molars. The holes all were worn, indicating that they were made before the patient died. The investigators recreated the flint drill(see pic) and found that they could make similar holes in teeth in about a minute. Doesn't sound like much time, but take a clothespin and put it on your lip and leave it there for a minute. Now imagine that you are a prehistoric person with a terrible absess, and nothing, not even whiskey, to dull the pain. The local shaman tells you to lie down, open your mouth, and then proceeds to grind a hole in your aching tooth with a rock on a stick! It makes me cringe just thinking about it.
So the next time you feel the urge to complain about that 'painful' novocain needle, just thank your lucky stars that you weren't born 8,000 years ago.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to floss...for the next hour or so.