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These features may include having extra cusps on the teeth, fewer cusps, or extra roots.
Lest we think this practice barbaric, it would be wise to remember that we subject our own adolescents to painful practices, such as breaking their palates, filing their teeth, and slowly changing their bony tooth sockets by placing pressure on their jaws with braces â€“ all in the name of â€œbeautyâ€.
When comparing inserting precious stones in teeth with today's use of dental braces. The word 'tartar' is not used again, but is replaced with the word 'calculus'. By the way, I am a former dentist with more than a passing interested in archaeology.
First, did ancient people have crooked teeth at all?
Interestingly, this group of individuals had fairly low levels of calculus and dental caries (cavities) although they are a very urban group that should be consuming a fairly soft diet.
Teeth also reflect general health, particularly in childhood. If a child is stressed, such as during weaning, when food is scarce, or after contracting a serious disease, the body may stop producing enamel for some time.
They provide insight into numerous issues archaeologists and historians are concerned with, including diet changes, general stress, how closely groups were related, and markers of social identity.