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Abstract

This paper addresses the questions of whether a dental profession existed in ancient Egypt and if it did then considers whether these practitioners were operative dental surgeons as we know them today or whether they were pharmacists. Evidence from hieroglyphic inscriptions, from the dentitions of the surviving mummified and skeletal remains, and from ancient documents and artefacts are examined. The conclusion would suggest that operative dental treatment if it did exist at all was extremely limited. The dental treatment that appears to have been provided was mainly restricted to pharmaceutical preparations that were either applied to the gingival and mucosal tissues or used as mouthwashes, and these at best may only have provided some short term relief. It seems apparent that many ancient Egyptians suffered from widespread and painful dental disease, which the available treatments can have done relatively little to alleviate.
The practice of dentistry
in ancient Egypt
R. J. Forshaw1
This paper addresses the questions of whether a dental profession existed in ancient Egypt and if it did then considers
whether these practitioners were operative dental surgeons as we know them today or whether they were pharmacists.
Evidence from hieroglyphic inscriptions, from the dentitions of the surviving mummifi ed and skeletal remains, and from
ancient documents and artefacts are examined. The conclusion would suggest that operative dental treatment if it did exist
at all was extremely limited. The dental treatment that appears to have been provided was mainly restricted to pharmaceu-
tical preparations that were either applied to the gingival and mucosal tissues or used as mouthwashes, and these at best
may only have provided some short term relief. It seems apparent that many ancient Egyptians suffered from widespread
and painful dental disease, which the available treatments can have done relatively little to alleviate.
Was there a dedicated dental profession
in ancient Egy pt? Ever since two teeth
connected by gold wire were discovered
by the Egyptologist Hermann Junker in
an Egyptian tomb in 1914, this topic has
been debated by both Egyptologists and
dentists alike, and even today the litera-
ture would seem to indicate t hat no clea r
consensus exists. To consider this ques-
tion in detail it is probably necessary to
examine the available evidence on this
subject from resources such as hiero-
glyphic inscriptions, human remains,
various medical papy ri, surgical instr u-
ments, ancient writings and other mis-
cellaneous source materials.1
HIEROGLYPHIC INSCRIPTIONS
Translation of hieroglyphic inscrip-
tions found in tombs and monuments
throughout Egypt has been able to reveal
the occupation of the dead person, which
in some cases has pointed to a medical
or dental title. Of the approximately 150
persons who are recorded as being medi-
cal personnel in ancient Egy pt, only nine
are recognised as dentists. They appear
to have be en hier archicall y orde red w it h
two basic categories, ‘one who is con-
cerned with teeth’ usually regarded as a
dentist, and ‘one who deals with teeth’.
It is not cer tain how these two titles dif-
fer, but possibly they refl ect differences
in duties and status. In addition there
were ‘chief of dentists’ and perhaps the
highest dental position was that of ‘chief
dentist of the palace’.1
The earliest recorded dentist not only
in Egypt but in t he world was Hesyre,
who is ev idenced from six exquisitely
carved wooden panels that were found
in his tomb at Saqqara near moder n
day Cairo, and which are generally
considered to be the nest wood arte-
facts handed down from antiquity (Fig.
1). Hesyre, who lived about 2660 BC,
was not only chief of dentists but also
chief of physicians as well as holding
a number of other religious and secu-
lar titles. Other dentists similarly held
multiple titles such as Nyanksekhmet
who was also a ‘chief of physicians’ and
Khuwy who was not only a dentist, but
‘elder of the physicians of the palace’ as
well as specialising in gastrointestinal
1Honorary Research Associate, KNH Centre for Bio-
medical Egyptology, Faculty of Life Sciences, Universit y
of Manchester/Dental Surgeon
Correspondence to: Dr Roger Forshaw, Bramblewood,
Park Gate, Park Road, Guiseley, West Yorks, LS20 8EN
Email: roger.forshaw@manchester.ac.uk
Refereed Paper
Accepted 6 February 2009
DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2009.355
©British Dental Journal 2009; 206 : 479-484
BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009 481
Provides an insight into the origins of the
dental profession and the world’s fi rst
recorded dentist.
The dental remedies and treatments of
the ancient Egyptian civilisation suggest
that the sourc es of some of the modern
therapies lay in the distant past.
An illustration of how different
interpretations of limited archaeological
and skeletal evidence can provide
contrasting conclusions.
IN BRIEF
GENERAL
Fig. 1 Hesyre. Excavations at Saqqara
- Quibell (1913)
© 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
GENERAL
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482 BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009
complaints. Whether these multiple
titles indicated that the individual was
engaged in several specialities or that
the titles were perhaps administrative or
ceremonial is unclear, but overall they
do suggest a need for dental care.
HUMAN REMAINS
I t i s i n t h e s ke l e t a l a n d m u m m i fi ed human
remains that if any operative dental sur-
gery did occur in ancient Egy pt, then
it is here that we might expect to nd
some conclusive confi rmation. However,
from the tens of thousands of remains
that have bee n e xami ned from the entir e
3,000 year period of Dynastic Egypt the
evidence is very limited. There are a
few instances where a surgical approach
for the treatment of dental abscesses
is claimed to have been adopted; there
are only three cases of possible pros-
thetic work, and some examples where
an extraction may have occurred. Much
has been made of these cases with some
authors2-5 claiming, quite categorically
in some cases, that this evidence proves
the existence of an operative dental pro-
fession, but equally so other workers6-8
have doubted this.
Surgical treatment of dental abscesses
was fi rst raised by Hooton9 in 1917, fol-
lowing his visual and radiographic study
of an ancient Egyptian mandible, dating
to about 2,500 BC. The teeth of the man-
dible showed considerable wear, with the
lower right fi rst molar having a pulpal
exposure and an associated apical infec-
tion. Hooton noted two small holes pen-
etrating the outer cor tical plate above
the mental foramen and in the direc-
tion of the anter ior root of th is tooth. He
claimed that due to the upward angu-
lation of the holes, their arti cial sym-
metrical appearance and the apparent
thickness of bone they had transversed,
the holes were the result of man-made
drillings, affected in order to drain t he
pus from the apical abscess.
Breasted,10 an Egyptologist later sup-
ported this view and suggested that they
could have been created by a bronze
instrument in a bow drill. Certainly t he
bow drill was in use in ancient Egypt for
carpentry and stone work, as evidenced
by var ious wall paintings in tombs, such
as that seen in the 18th Dynasty tomb of
Reckmire at Luxor.
However, Wingate-Todd11 consid-
ered that one of Hooton’s holes was an
accessory mental foramen whilst the
other a pathological cavit y formed by
the abscess. Leek12 when examining a
comparable ancient Egyptian mandible
found a similar situation of tooth wear
and abscess formation, a lso having cir-
cular holes that were extremely cleanly
cut and penetrating through sound tis-
sue. He also noted that the direction of
the hole was from behind for ward, a
direction impossible to perform with a
straight drill due to the presence of the
inter vening soft tissues. Such a hole
could only have been drilled with a
right angled drill, technology that was
not available in Dynastic Egypt. He con-
cluded that these holes were not drilled
in an operative procedure but were the
resu lt of a pathological process caused by
the dissolution of bone by pus. Addition-
ally, his examinations of large number
of skulls revealed that the path an
abscess takes varies and the earlier sug-
gestion that an upward direction must
implicate a surgical procedure could not
be considered valid. Such canals occur
frequently, in many different positions
and are related to ever y tooth in the den-
tition, thus indicating that they could be
the result of apical infection.
Other arguments against a surgi-
cal interpretation were put forward by
Fig. 2 ‘Giza bridge’. Courtesy of ©Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim
Fig. 3 ‘el-Quatta Bridge’. Courtesy of ©Egyptian Museum, Cairo
© 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
GENERAL
BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009 483
Nickol et al.13 in which they consid-
ered t hat for such treatment to have
occurred, an awareness by the ancient
Egyptians of the process and patho-
logical anatomy of apical periodontitis
would be required, wh ich would seem
unlikely. Also, that perhaps Hooton’s
conclusion was based on the dental
techniques and understanding existing
in the early part of the twentieth cen-
tury. Then it was not uncommon to treat
dental abscesses by a similar procedure
known as ‘apical airing’, a practice long
since discontinued.
Of the so-called ‘prosthetic appliances’
that h av e be en doc u mente d fr om a nc ien t
Egypt, the best known example consists
of a mandibular second molar connected
by gold wire to a worn third molar (Fig.
2). It was discovered at Giza, near Cairo
in a bur ial shaft dating to approximately
2,500 BC and impor tant ly not found
attached to a skull. The dental report at
the time stated that judging by the col-
our and anatomic form of the teeth they
belonged to the same individual. Addi-
tionally, as the roots of the third molar
were very absorbed, due to a probable
infl ammator y process, the tooth had
become mobile, and so in an attempt to
stabilise it, it had been attached to its
neighbouring tooth.14
However, Leek,6,15 who later exam-
ined the appliance, identi ed a number
of problems with these conclusions. He
considered that the considerable tooth
wear had produced such a signi cant
change in the mor phology of the tooth,
that positive identifi cation of the position
of the tooth in the dentition or indeed
confi rmation t hat the teeth belong to
the same individua l was not possible.
Additionally, as the wear is greater on
the third molar compared to the sec-
ond, then it is unlikely to have come
from the same individual as this tooth
would have erupted some six years later.
He also stated that the 0.35 mm diam-
eter gold tubular wire would unlikely
achieve even a short term result due to
its insubstantial nature.
Overall the indication would seem to
be that t he appliance was not present
during the lifetime of the individual,
and a possible explanation could be
that it was inserted into the mummifi ed
body in an attempt to make the body
whole for the afterlife, a practice com-
mon in ancient Egypt. Alternatively, the
teeth could have been worn as an amu-
let, with the owner perhaps hoping that
they would afford some form of power
or protection.
A second appliance, similarly dated
to about 2,500 BC, was excavated at
el-Quatta, near Cairo and again was
not found in situ, but retr ieved from
amongst the cr ushed bones of a skull.
It was described as consisting of a
maxillary right canine around which
a double strand of gold wire had been
encircled, fi nishing in a knot on its dis-
tal surface (Fig. 3). Separate from this
were a central and lateral incisor con-
nected to each other with similar gold
wire, but at one time thought to have
been attached to the right canine by a
hook in the wire. The central incisor had
a hole drilled in a mesia l distal direction
as well as a labial groove on the crown
in order to accommodate the gold wire
passing through and around t he clinical
crown. The lateral incisor also had gold
wire wrapped around it, which rested in
a prepared labial groove and the roots
of both teeth were scraped and polished
producing an artifi cial morphology.3 The
suggestion was that the canine was the
r ight abu t ment of a fo u r unit brid ge w it h
the central and lateral incisors being the
pontics, and a missing left central inci-
sor the left abutment. Because calculus
was found on the lateral incisor and
canine, it was claimed that the bridge
was worn for a relatively long period of
time during life.
A problem with this conclusion is that
the roots of both the incisor and the
lateral although slightly scraped and
polished are not suffi ciently gum fi tted
to function as a conventional bridge.
As the fi gure indicates, pontics of this
lengt h would probably cause food trap-
ping and mucosal irr itation. Also it is
questionable whet her the gold connect-
ing wire would have been sturdy enough
to stabilise the teeth during the normal
rigours of mastication. The presence of
calculus on t he roots of the teeth could
indicate periodontal involvement dur-
ing life with associated pocketing and
gingival recession. A possibility here is
that the teeth could have been accidently
dislodged from their sockets dur ing the
mummifi cation process, and then later
reattached, or even that they were teeth
that had been accidentally lost during
life and then were being replaced at
this time.
The third and fi nal appliance was
excavated from Tura el-Asmant, and was
found attached to a skull, the only one
from ancient Egypt to be found in situ.
It was dated to the Greek (Ptolemaic)
period of ancient Egypt (332-330 BC),
and was described as a br idge whose sin-
gle pontic was a right maxillary central
incisor. It was fi xed into place by a sil-
ver wire passing through two holes t hat
had been drilled mesio-distally through
the crown of the tooth, whilst the exact
means of connection to the adjacent
teeth is unknown. Radiographs showed
no evidence of a radiolucent area above
the pontic as well as a much shor ter root,
suggesting that the tooth had been pre-
pared outside the body before insertion.
The recontouring of the labial alveolar
bone also pointed to the tooth being
placed in situ after healing. The d irec-
tion of the drill hole would probably
exclude t he possibilit y of this procedure
from being carried out in the mouth.16
Blustein et al.4 pointed out that the lower
central incisor was positioned more labi-
ally than the remaining lower anterior
teeth, and this could therefore have
resu lted in trauma to the upper right
central incisor, and thus may have been
the reason for its loss.
This then would appear to be a true
prosthetic device, and dating to the
Ptolemaic period, the earliest one dis-
covered from ancient Egypt. However,
the Ptolemaic period was a time of trade
and cultural exchange in the Mediterra-
nean and because of the lack of similar
nds in Egypt there is also the possibil-
ity that either the br idge was found on a
foreign traveller or that this par ticular
technique had been imported. Certainly
dental work of a similar nat ure has
been discovered in Sidon, Greece and in
Etruscan cemeteries.17
It is not clear if extractions were per-
formed in ancient Egypt since although
there is considerable evidence of ante-
mortem loss of teeth; many of these
teeth appear to have been periodontally
involved and may therefore have been
removed by simple digital pressure or
© 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
GENERAL
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484 BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009
displaced naturally. No ancient Eg yptian
instrument has ever been discovered
that could be utilised for the extraction
of teeth, nothing like the examples of
Greek and Roman extraction forceps that
have been unearthed. However, simple
elevat ion of a tooth by means of a primi-
tive metal lever should perhaps not be
excluded from consideration, and such a
lever may well have been excavated in
the past but not identi ed as such.
However, examinations of skeletal
remains have led some workers to con-
clude that that there were cases where
ext ract ions had been per formed.18,19 This
judgement was based on a consideration
of the amount of space, the inclination
of the adjacent teeth, and the contour-
ing of the intervening alveolar bone in
areas where there were missing teeth.
Never theless, there are many examples
of periodontally involved teeth which
could easily have been removed by fi n-
ger manipulation or by means of a sim-
ple extraction procedure, but have been
left in situ.8 These extractions had they
been performed would undoubtedly have
resulted in considerable pain relief. Why
these simple extractions were not car-
ried out seems rather strange when you
consider the sophistication of the ancient
Egyptian civilisation and their extensive
knowledge of medicine and surgery.
INSTRUMENTS
There are probably no instruments so
far excavated which can be defi nitely
considered to have been used for dental
purposes, but one dif culty in identifi -
cation of any such instr uments is that
they were never engraved with their
purpose. An example that has been sug-
gested which may show dental instr u-
ments is a large scene inscribed on one
of the walls of the temple of Kom-Ombo.
Here there is what appears to be a collec-
tion of nearly 40 surgical instruments,
and although different interpretations
have been suggested as to their pur-
pose, it has been pointed out that many
of the items shown are contemporary to
numerous well authenticated depictions
of Roman and Greek surgical instru-
ments.20,21 Indeed, it has been suggested
that there are representations of dental
forceps depicted. However, as Ghalioun-
gui22 points out, the building relates
to the Greco-Roman era (332 BC - 394
AD) and is therefore usually considered
to be related to medicine as originating
from Alexandria rather than ancient
Egyptian medicine.
MEDICAL PAPYRI
The medical papyri are the written
records of medical procedures and treat-
ments that have b ee n handed down to us
from ancient Egypt, and although they
have to be viewed with caution they do
provide us with an impor tant source
of information as regards dentistr y. Of
the 12 papyri which can be regarded as
medical texts, four (Ebers, Kahun, Ber-
lin and Hearst) include prescriptions for
the treatment of dental problems and a
f th papy rus (Edwin Smith) provides
instructions for dealing with fractures
and dislocations of the mandible and
maxillary regions. Only therapeutic
remedies are recommended, and impor-
tantly there is no reference to any ty pe
of prosthetic, surgica l or conservative
form of treatment. As some of the com-
ponents of the various prescriptions are
unk nown to us, and there are transla-
tional uncer tainties in the identifi ca-
tion of others, it is not always possible
to judge the effectiveness of a par ticular
pharmaceutical remedy.
Of the approximately 18 cases in
the papyri relating to prescriptions for
disorders of the teeth and ora l cav-
ity, seven are for remedies to prevent
tooth loss by packing various materials
in paste form around the tooth and the
surrounding gums. The theory seems to
have been that these would harden and
ser ve as a temporary means of stabil-
ising teeth t hat were mobile, presum-
ably due to periodontal disease.1 These
seven remedies use words such as ‘set in
place’, ‘make strong’, ‘if it wants to fall
to the ground’ - all these wordings seem
to imply a mobile tooth, and are fairly
simila r. An example of such a prescrip-
tion is Papyrus Ebers 739:23Beginning
of the remedies to consolidate a tooth;
Flour of emmer seeds; ochre; honey;
made into a mass; and the tooth to be
fattened therewith’.
Here the fi rst constituent is emmer
wheat, which would seem to have been
used non-selectively, whereas ochres are
iron oxides which have mild astringent
and antiseptic properties. Ochres were
used by the Abor iginals and even today
are used medicinally by the Andaman
tribes who live off the coast of Ben-
gal.24 Honey, which is a binding agent,
is used in more Egyptian medicines than
any other ingredient and because of its
hypertonicity kills micro-organisms
by draw ing water out of them through
osmosis.20 Thus honey would have inhib-
ited bacterial growth and helped reduce
infl ammation in infected gingival and
mucosal areas.
The other prescriptions for the pre-
vention of tooth loss are similar in their
supposed mode of action and only differ
in the types of material with which the
teeth are packed. Examples of these being
malachite and terebinth resin, both hav-
ing antiseptic properties.20 Therefore a
number of the compone nt s do have some
medicinal value and may have tempo-
rar ily relieved the painful symptoms in
addition to splinting the mobile teet h,
but for a number of others, their func-
tion is unknown. Importantly, only the
symptoms of the disease process were
being treated and not the source.
The second main group of prescrip-
tions appear to be for treating various
ulcers, abscesses or gum infections. An
example of such a remedy is Ebers 74223:
Another, for the treatment of a tooth
that is eating in the opening of the fl esh:
cumin; terebinth; carob; to be made into
a powder and applied to the teeth’.
It is not cer tain what is meant by ‘eat-
ing in the opening of the fl esh’ although
it is often considered to be a dental
abscess.1,6 Looking at the components of
the prescription, cumin is a carminative
and has antiseptic and local anaesthetic
proper ties, whilst terebinth resin as pre-
viously mentioned is an antiseptic. Carob
is a stabiliser and in addition possesses
astringent and demulsifying properties.
Consequently, such a material would be
soothing and with antiseptic and astrin-
gent proper ties would provide some lim-
ited relief. Other constituents used in this
type of prescription are sycamore fruit,
celer y, gum, oil as well as a number of
materials yet to be identi ed.25
Three prescriptions deal with oral pain
and among the various components used
to treat the condit ion was willow. Willow
bark conta ins salici n, a chemica l similar
© 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
GENERAL
BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009 485
to acetylsalicylic acid, therefore having
both analgesic and anti-infl ammatory
effects, although there is some doubt if
the ancient Egyptians had discovered
the true value of this plant.21 ,26
The other remaining papyrus of dental
interest, t he Edwin Smith papyr us, is a
well written and sophisticated example
of medical literature, being the earliest
known treatise dealing w ith surger y.
This papyrus lists 48 mainly trauma
cases and amongst them is one in which
instructions are given for correcting a
dislocated mandible. It shows a clear
logical approach differing little from
the met hod that is practiced today and
importantly is the earliest description of
a surgical procedure still in use.27
‘Instructions concerning the disloca-
tion in his mandible: If you examine a
man having a dislocation in his mandible
[and] you fi nd his mouth open [and] can-
not close it for him, you should place your
thumbs upon the ends of the two rami in
the inside of this mouth [and] your two
groups of ngers under his chin, and you
should cause them to fall back so that
they rest in their place.’
Also of note is that the Edwin Smith
papyr us contains t he fi rst recorded use
of absorbent lint made from vegetable
bre whilst splints and bandages are
routinely used. It describes the use of
adhesive strips in dealing with wounds,
and cases of complex suturing are
descr ibed in detail. It is clear from this
papyr us that surgery was know n, under-
stood and practised in ancient Egypt and
that some of this knowledge is still in
use today.27
Perhaps no discussion of medical and
dental practice in ancient Egypt could
be complete without considering the
part that magic played in the various
prescriptions in the papyri. Certainly,
the ancient Egy ptians were intelligent
obser vers and discovered empirically
some effective dr ugs and rational heal-
ing methods, but magic undoubtedly had
a part to play. There are cases where the
use of ritual and magical spells is sug-
gested as a sole remedy, and in other
instances ‘magical’ and ‘rational’ treat-
ments are linked, with the two met h-
odologies being complementar y to each
other.28 It would seem t hat the majority
of the dental prescriptions fi tted into the
rat iona l scena r io , w ith man y of t he com-
ponents having a recognised pharmaco-
logical action. However, for those where
the speci c component is un known it
is possible that there may have been an
associated magical element. Equally so
there does not appear to be any obvious
reference to recited spells directed for
the relief of oral problems.
ANCIENT WRITERS
Many ancient aut hors such as Homer,
Pliny the Elder, and Herodot us described
the illustrious position in which Egyp-
tian medicine achieved in the ancient
World.1 In particular Herodotus, a Greek
traveller and historian, who visited
Egypt in about 440 BC, and later wrote
an account of the country and its his-
tory, described specialisation in the
medical profession:
The practice of medicine they split
into separate parts, each doctor being
responsible for the treatment of only
one disease. There are, in consequence,
innumerable doctors, some specialis-
ing in diseases of the eye, others of the
head, others of the teeth, others of the
stomach, and so on.’29
Whilst it may be wrong to inter pret
this passage with the notion that medical
knowledge was so advanced in ancient
Egypt that specialisation was necessar y,
much as occurs today in t he modern
world, it does nevertheless imply that
some form of dental care did exist.
RELIEFS, PAINTINGS AND
NON-MEDICAL TEXTS
There seems to be little mention of den-
tal diseases among t he various popu lar
literary texts handed down to us from
ancient Egypt. Also there seems to be
no records of non-attendance from work
due to toothache from the many details
of absenteeism kept by foreman at vari-
ous building sites or workers vi llages.30
There are no depictions of the ancient
Egyptians experiencing toothache or
receiving dental treatment in the vari-
ous surviving wall paintings, certainly
nothing comparable with the Byzantine
and late-medieval illustrations showing
teeth being extracted.31
However, one Ramesside text, the
papyrus Anastasi IV32 refers to a worm
as being the cause of toothache. In this
text an Egyptian offi cial describes the
suffering of a fellow scribe:
A mns-scribe is here with me, every
muscle of whose face twitches, the wStt-
disease has developed in his eye and the
fnt-worm into his tooth. I cannot leave
him to his fate.’
T h e w o r m i s a ls o r e f er r e d to i n th e m e d-
ical papy ri as a disease agent, although
the reference in the A nastasi IV papyr us
is the only one suggesting it as being a
cause of toothache.1 However, the idea
that a worm was responsible for dental
disorders was widespread amongst other
ancient cultures, with probably the fi rst
documented case being a Sumerian text
dating to about 5,000 BC.33 This belief
continued throughout history and even
as late as the eighteenth century an
ivory car ving of a tooth was produced
showing inside it a tooth worm.34
FINALLY
In the late 1960s the University of
Michigan in co-operation with Alexan-
dria University radiographed the Royal
mummies in Cairo Museum. Mummies
of several of the pharaohs, notably those
of Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, per-
haps two of the greatest Pharaohs of
ancient Egypt, revealed dentitions show-
ing extremely worn teeth, per iapical
abscesses and advanced periodontal dis-
ease.35 The radiographs showed no evi-
dence of any form of dental treatment,
and surely if anyone was to receive oral
care it would have been these powerf ul
rulers. Certainly, if they did not then the
peasants, t he vast majorit y of society,
would un likely to have done so.
The conclusion seems to be that opera-
tive dental treatment if it did exist at all
was ex tremely limited, and any sugges-
tion that the ancient Egy ptian dentist
op er ated on p at ient s rout in e l y is n ot s up -
ported by the available evidence. Most
of the dental treatment that appears
to have been provided was restricted
to pharmaceutical preparations that
were either applied to the gingival and
mucosal tissues or used as mouthwashes.
These remed ies would not have retarded
the progress of the dental disease, and at
best may have only provided some short
term relief. It seems clear that many
ancient Egyptians suffered from wide-
spread and painful dental disease, which
© 2009 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
GENERAL
GENERAL
486 BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL VOLUME 206 NO. 9 MAY 9 2009
the available treatments can have done
relatively little to alleviate.
1. Weeks K R. Ancient Egyptian dentistry. In Harris
J E, Wente E F (eds). An X-ra y atlas of the royal
mummies. pp 99-121. Chicago & London: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 1980.
2. Ghalioungui P. Did a dental profession exist in
ancient Egypt? Med Hist 1971; 15: 92-94.
3. Iskander Z, Harris J E, Farid S. Further evidence of
dental prosthesis in ancient Egypt. Ann Serv Antiq
Egypte 1979; 63: 93-122.
4. Blustein Y, Stern N, Kottek S S. A case of prosthetic
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We are living in a world today where stopping or halting can cause tremendous loss to our society. We have learned this lesson in the pandemic of COVID-19 the hard way. But a pandemic is not only the reason that can cause a halt. Toothache pain is described as intense, throbbing, miserable, or unbearable as it can affect a person’s ability to perform normal activities such as job, social activities, housework, talking, sleeping, and eating, all of these factors can result in mental health problems and halting their everyday life. In this particular design intervention, a device and a mobile application have been conceptualized as a solution, which will help common people to detect potential dental caries and will be able to take precautions. The device is a toothbrush specially designed and conceptualised that can detect tooth enamel decay. This data will be analysed in the mobile application to inform the user about their dental health.KeywordsProduct designErgonomicsMedical productDental care