Monday, October 23, 2006

Improvements in Dental Care in the last 4,000 years?

Yesterday, I read an article about a new archeological find in Egypt. It seems that some enterprising, but unlucky tomb robbers discovered the tomb of three powerful dentists who tended to the teeth of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. Experts have dated the tomb to about 4,000 years ago, or 2,000 years before the birth of Jesus. According to the article, "Their location near the Step Pyramid of King Djoser — believed to be Egypt's oldest pyramid — indicate the respect accorded dentists by Egypt's ancient kings, who 'cared about the treatment of their teeth.'"

This immediatly brought to mind some of the work we did with medical volunteer teams in Maranhão, in NE Brazil, where we used to live. One medical team pulled several hundred teeth in a couple of days. The people in the town (and many other towns in the NE) had absolutely no access to dental care. They had been living their whole lives with abcessed, diseased, and rotted teeth, with incredible pain, but no relief and no solution.

So - dentists have been around for at least 4,000 years, but they still haven't gotten to parts of Brazil. Sigh...It's nice to know that we're making progress.

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