Gem-studded teeth show skill of ancient dentists

Published on May 19th, 2009 | by Sevaan Franks

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teeth

Advanced dentistry techniques allowed Native Americans to inset gemstones to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago.

The early dentists used a drill-like device with a hard stone such as obsidian, which is capable of puncturing bone.

“It’s possible some type of [herb based] anesthetic was applied prior to drilling to blunt any pain,” Jiménez said.

The ornamental stones—including jade—were attached with an adhesive made out of natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones, Jiménez said.

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