Ancient Beeswax Filling

The World’s Oldest Dental Filling… From Beeswax?

The discovery of a 6,500-year-old piece of beeswax shines new light on ancient dentistry.

When you think about fillings, more times than not, the last thing to come to mind is beeswax (unless Dr. Heller is telling you one of his clever jokes).  However, there was a recent discovery revealing the oldest filling was composed of beeswax about 6,500 years ago. This is a prime example of just how necessary proper dental care maintenance is with proof that dentistry has been practiced long before we were born.

PLoS One, a peer review journal, published this discovery, detailing how a group of theoretical physics researchers in Italy analyzed this human jaw bone from over a century ago.  Unfortunately, Denver, CO cannot use this as a claim to fame as it was unearthed in Slovenia. This cracked Neolithic tooth is the earliest case of fillings in history!

Researchers believe this jawbone belonged to a man around his late twenties.  As seen in some of these photos, the man experienced a crack on his left canine that exposed dentin.  Dentin is the inner enamel and tissues inside the tooth.  As you can imagine, a damaged tooth of this degree had to be quite painful and a job Dr. Versman, Dr. Heller, or Dr. Beckman could handle with caress.   Due to the physical discomfort, researchers believe the beeswax was coated around and inside the damaged tooth to relieve the tenderness.  However, it is ultimately unknown if the procedure was done before or after the man died.

Examples of ancient dentistry are rare finds, and it is startling to realize that this jawbone was first discovered 100 years ago without detection of this filling.  It was not until recently researchers found the dental work.  Once noticed, carbon dating was used to discover exactly how old this specimen of beeswax was.  Then, voilà!

As exciting as it is to discover great ancient history, Periodontal Associates does not want you to take care of your teeth like a caveman.  It is important to come in for bi-annual check-ups at a minimum to keep your teeth and gums in the healthiest shape possible.

Drs. Versman, Heller, and Beckman specialize in helping those with gum disease and dental implants.  The best way to reduce the need for gum graftsbone grafts, or dental implants is by allowing true professionals to care for your oral health.  Our hygienists are specially trained to give cleanings to reduce gum irritation.  Don’t need implants or don’t have gum disease? Well preventative care can help keep it that way!

Stop by our office in Aurora, CO, and Periodontal Associates will help you be proactive about your health.  For more information, browse our website at  Also feel free to call us at (303) 755-4500 or click here for an appointment.  We look forward to seeing you and making good oral hygiene your ‘beesiness’.

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