n Journal for Semitics - Dentists and dentistry in Ancient Egypt

Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1013-8471


This article addresses the questions of whether a dental profession existed in ancient Egyptian times, and, if so, whether they were operative dental surgeons or mere dental pharmacists? This article will confirm the first theorem, although, as in modern times, the Egyptian dentist may well have been both a dispensing practitioner, as well as an operative surgeon. Evidence from archaeological research, principally from the medical papyri, hieroglyphic inscriptions found in tombs, stelae, and physical examination reports of dental conditions in mummies and from dry skeletons are taken into account. The medical papyri's dental entries will demonstrate that dentists were mainly focussed on diagnoses and that the science was mostly pharmacopoeial in nature, providing pharmacotherapy and magical incantations. Information on operative treatment is limited and limited to the Edwin Smith papyrus. Lastly, physical evidence of prosthetic and surgical dentistry is presented as further evidence.

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