The Maya civilization of present-day Central America was renowned for its many great achievements before Spain conquered its lands. The Mayas made great strides in the fields of astronomy and mathematics, and showed a strong prowess in architecture; after all, the civilization built massive pyramids with no modern tools. The Mayas also invented the field of cosmetic dentistry, but it was much different from what you might imagine.
The Mayas often went to their dentists, but not for fillings or to get a new crown put on. They went to have their teeth beautified with gemstones.
From what anthropologists have found, Maya citizens from all levels of society had their teeth decorated, regardless of class.
The result may have looked cool, but the process was undeniably painful. A dentist would have likely used a makeshift drill made from obsidian to punch a hole in the front of a tooth. They would then use a natural adhesive to place the gemstone in the hole.
While this early form of dentistry might seem rudimentary, it was remarkably advanced at the time.
In order to not break the tooth completely or damage the nerves inside, Maya dentists had to be precise. The fact that they were able to do such fine work speaks to an amazing knowledge of tooth anatomy.
(via Sixpenceee, National Geographic)
I think we can add one more thing to the Maya”s list of accomplishments. It turns out that famous rappers weren”t, in fact, the first people to wear sparkling grills in their teeth.