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Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is cited as one of the birthplaces of antiquity dentistry. Specifically, dentistry enjoyed a high level of academic interest in the city of Alexandria during the late-ancient Egypt and early Greco-Roman Egyptian periods. Alexandria was renowned for its medical and dental schools, learned scholars, and libraries carrying large volumes on such topics. Though much of the knowledge in Alexandria’s libraries and educational institutes was lost due to war and disasters, the literature that was preserved tell us that medical practices were divided among the priesthood. Each physician applied themselves  to the study of one disease or organ.

history of dentistry (ancient egyptian dental perscriptions).png

Ebers' papyrus in Egyptian hieratic characters containing
eleven dental prescriptions

Information on what these dental practices looked like is scarce, however the work found in Egyptian tombs point towards the existence of dental prosthesis. Skeletons were found to have gold-filled teeth, in addition to false teeth attached to the mouth using clasps. In mummies, sets of artificial teeth constructed from wood and brass were discovered. Another account describes teeth carved from ivory, fastened to a gold plate. Interestingly, there is evidence of women dentists as well in ancient Egypt. Women were forbidden from receiving health care from men, and instead received services from women medical practitioners. Due to the prevalence of dental prosthesis in the remains of women from this time period, it is plausible that there were women educated in the art of dental prosthetics as well. (1)