The latest from Yahoo News:
9,000 Year-old Dental Drill Found
Somewhere, a bunch of hungry Sullivan-Schein reps are placing eager calls to Pakistan, hoping to make a sale. "Oh, that doctor is BOUND to want the NEWest Kavo handpiece!"
My favorite part of the article is where the anthropologist says, "I showed the pictures to my dentist and he thought they were amazing holes."
To my patients: If you ever want to share "amazing holes" with me, I'd just as soon you not.
Anyway, I know that ancient Native Americans (and perhaps Egyptians?) used to hold their heads over incense to "smoke out" the evil spirits or tooth worms which presumably caused toothaches. It turns out that the herbs in question had hallucinogenic properties or narcotic properties, thereby "curing" the toothache, or at least relieving it for a short time. I'm not sure when hashish was discovered, but it's mentioned in Arabian Nights, so who knows how those people may have relieved pain prior to fillings.
Depending on the age of the patients, too, a minutes worth of drilling, up to 2-3mm, might not be SO bad.
I had a 16-year-old yesterday w/ a small amount of decay on a molar. I said, "OK, let me know if you feel anything; this isn't worth getting numb, but if it bugs you, I can do so." Soooo, being all hepped up on Mountain Dew and such, he didn't say anything. "You OK?" "Yeah." When I was done (maybe 2mm, which is 1/2mm into dentin, and therefore probably sensitive), he says, "Oh, Dude, that, like, hurt the entire time. But I didn't say anything."
Tempted to cite one of my mother's favorite sayings, "So do you want a medal or a chest to pin it on?" I replied, "OK. Nice work, bud."
Days without patient swallowing precious gold restoration: 13!