Porcelain crowns and bridges and the prosthetics of choice for many modern dentists, but it wasn’t always that way!

People have always had problems with their teeth. Especially before modern medicine, teeth often fell out, got damaged, or got cavities. In ancient times, especially, this was hard to deal with, and you couldn’t always just find a dentist to solve these problems.

Egyptian toothbrushThroughout history people have found innovative ways to perform cosmetic dentistry. Like the cosmetic dentistry that Dr. Vahidi and his team performs, this dentistry was meant to repair damaged teeth and help your smile look beautiful again. Unlike Dr. Vahidi and his team, these historical dentists did not have the modern convenience of porcelain crowns and bridges, so they had to get creative with their cosmetic dentistry! Here’s a few of the techniques they used instead.

3 Ancient Alternatives to Porcelain Crowns and Bridges

Here are a few of the ways that ancient dentists approximated modern porcelain crowns and bridges.

  • Gold wire bridges. The first evidence we have of ancient dentists using bridges to fortify teeth or hold replacements in place comes from ancient Egypt. In ancient Egypt, usually only the wealthy could afford teeth replacement, especially the kind that used gold wire for bridges. A hole was drilled in the teeth on either side of a gap, and each replacement tooth (usually from a human donor!) was also drilled with a small hole. Fine gold wire was threaded through each hole and tied off, binding the teeth together and ensuring that the replacement teeth would stay in place. Keep in mind that this was all done without modern painkillers like Novacaine! Today, you’re probably better off sticking with porcelain crowns and bridges–no need to drill holes through your teeth!
  • Gemstone grills. While this next entry isn’t technically a part of tooth repair, it is certainly cosmetic. The ancient Mayans discovered how to drill teeth without damaging the pulp inside, which allowed them to do some impressive cosmetic work, such as carving designs on the teeth of prominent people. But the really wealthy citizens could display their wealth by filling chips or cracks in teeth with tiny gemstones! Imagine that instead of the natural-looking white of porcelain crowns and bridges, your damaged teeth were repaired with sparkling jade, rubies, and sapphires!
  • Grave robbing for dentures. In Dark Ages Europe, some doctors figured out how to make dentures that approached the shape of modern dentures. They were designed to be fitted in the mouth and replace a whole row of teeth. For the rich, the most popular choice of false teeth were real teeth… from dead people! Grave robbers and army doctors would sell teeth for making dentures, and some poor people would even sell their own teeth to make some cash. These dentures were tied onto the patient’s existing teeth, and were often loose and uncomfortable. Thanks to modern porcelain crowns and bridges, dentists can replace many teeth in a row with porcelain replicas, and you won’t have to buy any teeth on the black market!

These are just some of the ways that dentists throughout history have used cosmetic dentistry to make people’s smiles a little brighter! If you’re interested in cosmetic dentistry, you’ll be relieved to know that Reconstructive Dentistry offers only porcelain crowns and bridges, and not any of these other procedures. Give us a call today to find out what we can do for you!