Before modern dentistry came about, mankind had a plethora of ways to dealing with the age old problem of toothaches. It was believed in many cultures for centuries that the toothache was caused by a tooth worm, though nobody knew how this (fictional) creature looked.
Clove oil, originating from India and Indonesia, was popular in dentistry before commercial anesthetics. In fact it can still be used today as a home remedy. Studies have found the oil has analgesic and antibacterial properties, which was especially helpful in treating toothaches caused by bacterial infections. Of course this remedy does have its setbacks. Other than the strong odor and taste, over ingestion of this oil can cause liver and respiratory problems.
Other remedies were not always grounded on a scientific basis. The Aztecs chewed on hot chilies In Scotland it was believed that wrapping a caterpillar in red cloth placed under the aching tooth could bring pain relief. The ancient Romans believed using fumigation would ease the pain, burning a mixture of goat fat, onions and other items in a funnel while the patients head was covered over the smoke.
Prior to modern dentistry, people had to either travel to see a dentist or simply hope the pain would subside. Even when there was a dentist available, the procedures available may not have been grounded on any scientific basis.
Today you can simply lay lie back and relax at the dentist’s office. Modern day tools such as anesthesia, sterilization of medical equipment, and specialized tools such as x-rays and braces have transformed the patient experience.