PARIS — Man’s first known trip to the dentist occurred as early as 9,000 years ago, when at least nine people living in a Neolithic village in present-day Pakistan had holes drilled into their molars and survived the procedure. The findings, being reported Thursday in the scientific review Nature, push back the dawn of dentistry by 4,000 years, to around 7000 B.C. The drilled molars come from a sample of 300 individuals buried in graves at the Mehrgarh site in western Pakistan, believed to be the oldest Stone Age complex in the Indus River valley. ‘This is certainly the first case of drilling a person’s teeth,’ said David Frayer, professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas and lead author of the report. ‘But even more significant, this practice lasted some 1,500 years and was a tradition at this site. It wasn’t just a sporadic event.’ The earliest previously known evidence of dental work done in vivo was a drilled molar found in a Neolithic graveyard in Denmark dating from about 3000 B.C. All nine of the Mehrgarh dental patients were adults – four females, two males and three individuals of unknown […]

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