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Italian researchers believe they have discovered the oldest dental filling -- a beeswax cap applied to a left canine tooth about 6,500 years ago.
The filling was discovered by chance as Claudio Tuniz, Federico Bernardini and colleagues at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste used a fossilized jaw bone to test new X-ray imaging equipment.
Found early last century embedded on the wall of a karstic cave near the village of Lonche, in what is now Slovenia, the bone most likely belonged a 24–30-year-old individual.
Here we describe eleven drilled molar crowns from nine adults discovered in a Neolithic graveyard in Pakistan that dates from 7,500–9,000 years ago. These findings provide evidence for a long tradition of a type of proto-dentistry in an early farming culture.