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Hesy-Ra: The first dentist in history

The Egyptian Hesy-Ra was the first dentist to treat the tooth decay of the pharaohs

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians were pioneers in the development of the odontology? As early as 3.000 B.C. they were already inlaying precious stones in the teeth as a distinctive sign of beauty in the mouths of the pharaohs and making dental bridges, prostheses and implants in mummies, although only for aesthetic purposes.

It was only years later that their interest in dentistry turned towards the health aspect, and they began to treat dental diseases, as well as to worry about dental hygiene. This is how the figure of a doctor dedicated exclusively to teeth was born.

At that time in Egypt, we find two types of dentists: the iryw-ibew, whose translations resemble the one who deals with teeth or the lowest class of dentists and, on the other hand, the ir-iryw-ibew, which translates as the elite of dentists among those who deal with teeth.

Among the dentists of this period, Hesy-Ra stood out as the first dentist of the pharaohs during the 3rd Dynasty, one of the most fruitful periods of this civilization.

However, Hesy-Ra was not only recognised for his role as dentist to the pharaohs, but he was also noted for his concern for the oral care of the citizens of this period, especially the workers on the pyramids, as their oral diseases could delay the work and the construction.

Hesy-Ra dealt with typical diseases such as tooth decay, which were usually treated with extractions. His knowledge and the treatments he provided for the entire Egyptian population led him to become one of the great dentists of his time.

In recognition of his services, the pharaoh Sahura ordered different tablets to be engraved with the name of Hesy-Ra with the title of great dentist, as it has been translated and he even had a figure carved with his face, a great privilege at the time. All this is still preserved next to his tomb in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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