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The Mayas were a Mesoamerican civilization with a
highly developed culture that inhabited the Yucatan Peninsula, which comprises the
Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo; the northern part of the
nation of Belize; and Guatemala's northern. The nation's history began
about 2500 B.C., but their culture flourished from 300 A.D. to 900 A.D. Based on
archaeological findings, at least 60 percent of the total population was engaged
in some form of tooth modification.
In Maya’s dental practice, teeth were filed into
points, ground into rectangles or cavities were prepared to permit the
insertion of round pieces of stone in over a hundred different patterns. This
relatively complex procedure was done using a hard tube that was spun between
the hands or in a rope drill, with slurry of powdered quartz in water as an
abrasive, to cut a cavity through the tooth enamel to allow placement of an
inlay. These inlays were made of
various minerals and were ground to fit the cavity so precisely and the
adhesive was so effective that many burials found by archaeologists today still
have them firmly in place.
3D reconstruction of inlayed teeth from Mayas' civilization presenting pulp pathosis