The images of caveman are thought-provoking. Just imagine having to give up today’s technologies, the comfort of your bed, and all baked goods. While you are at it, consider what it would be like to live without modern dental care. Most people living in Bastrop, and those throughout this country, take the dentist for granted. However, the toothaches of yesteryear were not so simply cured and the bacteria that claimed the mouth could often leave the person without proper nutrition; a mere oral ache would be enough to kill a person.
It is believed that the first ‘dentists’ were actually priests or spiritual guides. It was long thought that aches and pains – including those located in the mouth – were the work of evil spirits. Evicting them would, in theory, cure the problem. Certainly it was easy enough to believe, as some toothaches will resolve themselves. As a result, some would find that the visit to the local priest did, in fact, ‘cure them’.
As time went by, however, one must suspect that a few of the cave dwellers caught on that there must be something else at play – aside from the occasional evil spirit. That, it is suspected, is when the ‘Legend of the Toothworm’ was born. So widely believed was this theory, that is was recorded on tablets for the reference. Images of the creature taking up residence in the body seemed to explain the aches on felt in his mouth. Many cultures adapted this belief in the years that were to follow, and it stuck around even after some more modern dental treatments were developed. There were different ideas of what the worms looked like – some thought them to be eel-like in appearance, while others considered it to be more similar to a maggot. Regardless of such opinions, all blamed the worms’ eating habits for tooth pain, decay, and signs of oral infection.
It was not until much later, but still fifteen hundred years B.C, that medical treatments were developed. Frankincense and Myrrh were among the first dental medicines. However, there was still some time to go before people began to realize the important of cleaning their teeth. The Ancient Romans developed the first method of cleaning. Lacking the bristles that we know today, the ‘chewstick’ had to be gnawed on until the fibers of the branch frayed enough to wipe across the side surfaces of the teeth. Today, we throw away toothbrushes that have been overly ‘broken in’. In those days, however, it was only after some time that the devices became worthy cleaners.
We take many modern conveniences for granted, but a look back is all that is required to understand just how far dentistry has come. Today, treatment for even the worst toothaches is only a phone call and a short trip away. The loss of a tooth in those days would have made for a commonplace gap in one’s smile. Today, we enjoy dental implants in Bastrop, Texas,… and that is the worst case scenario for most patients.
Chad Byler, DDS, PA
201 Hunters Crossing Blvd. #16
Bastrop, Texas 78602
The gnashy teeth of the evil monkey | Flickr – Photo Sharing! : taken from – http://www.flickr.com/photos/scragz/133309073/Author: scragz http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en
Leave Your Comments »