Apparently humans were doing dentistry 14,000 years ago. This article explains several things about this ancient dentistry, and this part makes sense to me, “It was known that early humans used toothpicks made from wood or bone for basic dental hygiene, digging out scraps of meat or fibre from between their teeth.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/11741211/Scientists-discover-evidence-of-rudimentary-dentistry-from-14000-years-ago.html I can easily imagine ancient humans doing that as things stuck between teeth are bothersome. One would naturally try to get that out, and it isn’t painful to do that.
However, evidence that an ancient human’s tooth, “had once been infected and that rotten material had been dug out of the tooth with the aid of a stone implement, most likely a shard of flint” seems far less likely to me, because it would hurt.
It’s not intuitive to remove decaying tooth material. I would think the initial pain would cause Paleolithic people to just avoid chewing on the tooth, or maybe pull it to get rid of the pain. It’s a pretty sophisticated thought process that would cause one to suffer through the removal of decayed tooth structure, hoping that that would alleviate pain.
This article also posits that humans were performing dentistry,“on each other”. I don’t know how they would know that as opposed to this cave man removing the decayed tooth matter on his own. I would think he could just as easily shove a sharp piece of flint into his own mouth and root around. Who knows, maybe they found a Flintstone style dental chair near the skull.
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