It’s hard to imagine that human teeth have changed throughout history, but they have. Some of our earliest human ancestors — the people who were people before the Homo sapiens existed — dating back seven million years had remarkably different dentition than we do today. While some early hominids, such as Australopithecus afarensis, had the same number of teeth as we do, they were spaced differently due to differences in the size and shape of the jawbone.
Despite these differences in structure, it was thought that early humans didn’t consume nearly as much hard, woody plant matter (like seeds, nuts and shells) as they could have. But new research points to quite the opposite — that tougher plant matter made up a large portion of early human diets without causing painful or undue wear and tear on the earliest hominids’ teeth.
Over 20.2 million adults struggle with a substance use disorder. Whether it’s a battle with addiction to illicit substances or inappropriate usage of prescription medication, it’s a problem that almost certainly affects you or someone you know.
Recovery from substance use disorder isn’t a linear path — some people enter recovery and stay sober their entire lives. Others experience many setbacks along the way. When it comes to managing pain, those grappling with addiction and substance use disorder often struggle. Fortunately, health care professionals like dentists are seeking new and innovative ways to help prevent and manage pain.
Dentistry has, at times, been accused of being archaic and draconian. Indeed, it can seem like dental care stays the same as the rest of the world marches on — but that’s simply not the case. The implementation of painless dentistry practices or new teeth-whitening methods and the move from conventional braces to Invisalign are advances worth talking about.
High school students everywhere know that teeth can tell them things about the diet of the creatures that used them. Pointy teeth like canines might be for tearing meat, where flat, crushing teeth like molars are useful for grinding up fibrous plant materials. As it turns out, there’s even more that fossilized teeth can tell us about our distant past and our path to today’s mouth. (more…)
Fans of the show Vikings, streaming on a TV near you via Amazon Prime or Hulu, know that these seafaring folk were an unstoppable force of nature during the height of their plundering. Although they were far from the only people to pillage the village, what set them apart from their contemporaries was their willingness to steal from religious orders.
All of this disregard for the general moral order of the time, plus the blood baths they tended to leave in their wake created a legend that’s grown far beyond reality.
The Vikings were absolutely terrifying and you didn’t want to be in their way, but they were also very tuned into fashion and trendy dentistry. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? They weren’t necessarily doing regular root canals, but they did incorporate cosmetic dental practices on the regular.
Mystery is always a popular genre for movies and television, but did you ever wonder how the coroners in those programs get access to the dental records of the deceased? Or how they can identify a body by their teeth? As you might expect, what they show on the screen isn’t quite the same as reality — what we can do with forensic dentistry is much cooler.