The Anthropology of Teeth – Part 1: An Interview with Dr. Brunacini

It may surprise you to know that our wonderful Dr. Brunacini loves to learn about teeth!  Not just as a dentist, but also as an anthropologist… Dr. Brunacini is fascinated by the field of Dental Anthropology.  We had to get to the root of the matter, so we’re kicking off Part 1 of an interview series with Professor Brunacini to learn more about the history of our teeth and Dental Anthropology.

What is Dental Anthropology?

Dr. Bruncaini:  Dental anthropology is a branch of physical anthropology that focuses on the development, evolution, and variability of teeth and related orofacial structures.  In other words, it’s about the history of teeth in humans.  What more could a dentist ask for in a field of study?

What interests you about this field?

Dr. Brunacini:  A lot!  By learning about how structures in the mouth form, we can learn how we are related to other animals.  We can also learn about the history of different cultures throughout time.  For example, we can learn about the foods they ate or how healthy they were overall. 

What is something that surprised or fascinated you in your research?

Dr. Brunacini:  I had no idea how long basic dentistry has been around.  There is a record of beeswax dental fillings from 6500 years ago!  It is incredible to witness the drive of humans to innovate and try to improve their well being by using their environment.  This is something we still do today.  

Where can people learn more?

Dr. Brunacini:  People who are interested in learning more can visit The Dental Anthropology Association website.  It’s a great resource.  Or patients can feel free to ask me more at their next appointment!  


Thank you, Dr. Brunacini!

We’ll continue this exploration and delve a little deeper into this interesting topic in the coming months.  If you have a question about dental anthropology or need to schedule your next appointment please give us a call at 207.781.5900.