Mexico City, Aug 12 (IANS) Specialists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have discovered from bone remains the oldest dental treatment in the Americas dated around 647-768 AD.
“We are not talking about mutilation or deformation, like in the Mayan or Egyptian culture, but rather a complex procedure that required specialized dental knowledge,” said Avto Gogichaishvili and Juan Morales, who are responsible for the university’s National Service of Archeomagnetism.
The UNAM experts said with this discovery, Mesoamerica has become the spearhead in dental treatment in the world, Xinhua reported.
In Europe, the oldest evidence of endodontics, or root canal treatment, was registered to have taken place in the 18th century and, even though a similar case was found in Cuernavaca in the central Mexican state of Morelos, this discovery was the oldest at the moment.
From an anthropological perspective, Humberto Quiroz and Ramiro Aguayo, researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History, assured that this discovery is important for understanding how the culture from the Cuitzeo basin in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, carried out their burials.
After a week of excavating, the anthropologists identified four skeletal remains in the fetal position: two male — Alvaro and Urbano — and two female — Remedios and Perla, each one accompanied by a pot and a young dog.
While cleaning Alvaro, further investigation showed that he had been aged between 30 and 35 when he died.
His dentures showed a common Mesoamerican characteristic: carved incisors. However, a perforation in the right maxillary canine attracted the anthropologists’ attention.
“The perforation of the circumference and the concavity in the tooth forced us to seek opinions from dental experts, who agreed that it was a dental treatment similar to the dental work that nowadays we call endodontics,” Quiroz said.