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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Ancient Egyptians Used Dental Filling, New Study Suggests | Asharq AL-awsat

Ancient Egyptians Used Dental Filling, New Study Suggests

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 - 06:00
Archaeologists remove the cover of an ancient painted coffin discovered at al-Asasif Necropolis in the Vally of Kings in Luxor, Egypt October 19, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany.
Cairo - Hazem Badr

A recent Greek study that examined an ancient Egyptian mummy from the Ptolemaic age unearthed in "old Panopolis" in the city of Akhmim, southern Egypt, has found that Ancient Egyptians used dental filling.

Archeologists examined the mummy (AIG. 3343) kept at Athens's National Archaeological Museum, and found a porous cavity in the teeth filled with protective materials, which suggests that Ancient Egyptians had used dental filling and were probably the first to use this protective measure.

The study was published in the American Association for Anatomy's the Anatomical Record Journal.

To examine the mummy, archeologists from the Mummy Research Project of the Hellenic Institute of Egyptology, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Athens Medical Center, used the computerized tomography (CT) technique, which provides a full description of teeth.

They were surprised to find low density materials (dental filling) between the first and the second molars in the lower jaw.

According to the archeologists, the unique structure and low density of the discovered material is significantly different from the embalming materials found in different parts of the mummy's skull. The dimensions of the filling were larger than the cavity, which suggests the material was deliberately placed there.

They also found that the material's structure was different from the teeth's shape, and that there were other cavities that are not filled with the material. This suggest that the filling was used as a sort of therapy and not as part of the embalming process.

Although the discovery of the filling was the key result of the study, archeologists managed to determine that the mummy's teeth were weak and tattered in several places. The problems ranged from a mild loss of enamel to a complete loss of tissues in the first molar of the upper right jaw.

The archeologists also found evidence on severe gum infection in many teeth, along with a huge bone loss in different spots.

The study didn't look at the reason behind this mummy's death, but the skull's characteristics suggested it belongs to an adult male who died in his twenties. The mummy didn't show significant degenerative changes in the spine and large joints.

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