Thursday, April 06, 2006


Man, Neanderthals must have had a tolerance for pain. Found in the Mailbox today: A report from the AP that details how scientists have discovered evidence that dental drills were used between 7,000 and 5,500 B.C. That's about 9k years ago.

No anesthesia, then, either. Teeth were drilled while the teeth's owners either hollered and writhed or bit the bullet. The scientists were impressed with the quality, too:

"The holes were so perfect, so nice," said study co-author David Frayer, an anthropology professor at the University of Kansas. "I showed the pictures to my dentist and he thought they were amazing holes."

The Mailbox recommends being very careful about whom you tell has "amazing holes."

Anyway, Frayer and co-author Roberto Macchiarelli said they used flint drill tips attached to a bow and spun those things around. But, while they had a good procedure, another dentist was skeptical that the process was based on good dentistry.

Dr. Richard Glenner guessed that they did the tooth drilling for decoration or to ward off evil instead of fighting tooth decay. But, the co-authors of the study dispute that, saying the location of the drilling (inside back molars in some instances) wouldn't serve a decorative purpose. They likely drilled to relieve the pain of cavities, the co-authors said.

The Mailbox isn't sure who to agree with. After thorough research which involved remembering a few seconds of a National Geographic special, the Mailbox remembers something about some tribes' ways of using painful displays as a decoration or sign of strength, virility or beauty. Dentist drill? Bring it on...make the Mailbox a man!

Hi Son:

Another reason I hate opening my mouth.
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