Mayan Dentistry meets Modern Dentistry

Thanks to Christian Noni for the latest article in the Cultural Corner:


This entry was posted in ModBlog and tagged , , by Shannon Larratt. Bookmark the permalink.

About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

44 thoughts on “Mayan Dentistry meets Modern Dentistry

  1. what a great article! i knew the mayans were advanced, but i wasn’t aware of mayan ‘dentistry.’ :-P

    and the new canines look beautiful.

    more cultural corner articles would be great!!

  2. Oh, this is such a great article. I’ve always been fascinated with Mayan dentistry and cosmetic dentristry myself… all of my siblings and my mother have or have had braces and my grandmother had a few gold teeth.

  3. Interesting article but I have some concerns.

    Also as an archaeologist, I am always concerned with people collecting antiquities of any stripe even those considered legal as it inevitably creates a demand leading to the illegal collection and looting of sites of which there is a limited supply. Once a site is looted most of the information is gone as the location of an artifact and its relationship to other objects and features (i.e. architecture) is more important than the object itself.

    This is going to sound rather nit-picky but the people are known as the Maya not the Mayans.

  4. How beautiful, yet subdued at the same time. Something like that would even fly in my ass-backwards part of the country. Very nice.

  5. DEfinitly loving the smile[I know how you feel about the whole self contious thing since I'm going through that now..but braces are slowly changing that] REally enjoyed the article. Kind of reminded me of being back in 7th grade reading about them :P

  6. I found the self-conscious part of the story quite fascinating, because to me it reads like there wouldn’t have been the desire for the final modified teeth had it not been for all the attention paid to the concept of a “perfect smile” at a young age…?

  7. Nice article, but from what Ive learnt I have been led to belive that Mayans did not smelt bronze, hence their use of stone weaponry. I could be wrong here, and there is no doubt they smelted gold, but Im not sure about Bronze- anyone know for certain?

  8. #5, that’s true… an archaeologist will find vast amounts of amazing finds, learn everything possible about their site, then happily go “That was interesting, I’m still poor”.
    While often immoral antiquities dealers grab all the stuff and sell it for vast amounts…
    Antiquities collectors, please think about where the objects come from!

    I love opals.

  9. Yeah, gonna have to agree with the concerns about collecting artifacts from other cultures without reflecting on the consequences. Not even getting into what that may cause other “collectors” (read: thieves) to do, it’s really important to think about the privilege inherent in being able to travel to another country/culture and just take, whether by force or through money exchange, cultural artifacts.

    I have a huge problem with museums, anthropology, archeaology, all of those things, for this very reason. I think there are perfectly valid ways of educating yourself about cultures foreign to you without stealing their shit.

  10. To #10 they didnt smelt bronze and according to a Mayanist here they really didnt smelt much of anything including gold; it would have been hammered.

    In response to #12, I work in Peru in conjunction with a Peruvian institution and there is a mandate to train local archaeologists. All artifacts uncovered are also left in the country of origin (a now common practice) and funds are often available to build local museums. There are problems but the loss of items lies more with antiquity dealers, legal and black market, than with academics.

  11. I’ll second what Doran is saying about antiquities dealers, having had some dealings with Peruvian smugglers in the past… That said, once items are on the market, I’m not sure what the right tactic is, or that I particularly have a problem with those collections being displayed in studios where they’re at least genuinely appreciated both first-hand and second-hand.

  12. I’ve wanted a tooth gem forever! I met some Danish girls a few years ago and one of them had a gem on her tooth. It’s not permanent, put on by a dentist with adhesive or something. The girl said everyone in Denmark had them.
    I wish I could find a place in Toronto that did it. :(

  13. To reply to Shannon, this is an ethical dilemma that plagues the business. The market though imbues these items with monetary value and there is a limited number of antiquities on the open market with a known lineage (ie it was collected prior to the laws restricting its collection and exportation). Looting then becomes the only source for new artifacts.

    It is then depressingly easy for looted items to be passed off as legal complete with faked documents, items then often disappear in private hands or for items especially ceramics to be faked. Some types like Maya cylinder vessels were so commonly copied that many fakes have found their way into academic databases.

  14. Doran – No doubt… I used to sell skulls, usually medical curiosities, but near the end of that business I started picking up shaped skulls and was being offered tattooed mummies and so on, but ultimately it made me so ethically uncomfortable that I shut down the business and donated/gifted what I still had in stock rather than keep it myself.

  15. loved the article, and the opal implants. the only thing i’d worry about is ruining the opal because opal are very soft stones, not like diamonds, and being in your teeth…well, they’re going to get knocked around a bit.

  16. I just wanted to thank BME & Shannon for posting the article. It has been a pleasure to be able to write such a deep and personal article and share the positive outcome with other people in this world. It is greatly appreciated with what BME has done for community and industry.

    Thank you again.

    Best Regards,
    Christian Noni

  17. Hey, #12, don’t insult responsible archaeologists (i.e. most of ‘em). Archaeology students here all sit through five hundred million billion (perhaps I exaggerate) ethics modules.
    They’re not all crazy colonial marauders any more.

  18. #23, while I appreciate that ethics courses are required for many archeaology/anthropology students (not to mention many students in any discipline where research/interviewing is involved), there are still problems inherent in the need/drive for uncovering “the truth” about any particular culture, whether present or past. In many (all?) cases, responsible research has a tendency to be an oxymoron. Not to turn this into a research methods discussion. Anyway, yeah, just think it’s important to point out the ethical problems inherent in those kinds of disciplines.

  19. Shannon, this article was fantastic! I remember reading the “Teeth Rule” article a few years back, totally memorized. When I met Alicia Cardenas (the author) at a convention, I was beside myself.
    I’ve always secretly coveted beautiful “teeth art” and this article confirms that. Thanks so much to everyone involved.

  20. Fwoah, I’m getting those in the next few weeks… but the normal kind. Perhaps I should ask my dentist about mother of pearl inlays!

  21. i used to have a little diamond on my tooth.. not permanent though. i miss it.

    i almost like the idea of having stones in them better. the opals look awesome; i love how they are subtle but classy.


  22. #25, ethics lessons are core to ANY archaeology major. I don’t understand what the inherent problems are with learning the facts about past cultures. Responsible research is a fact, this isn’t the 1920′s, and modern anthropological research puts the rights of the culture being studied paramount. It is important to point out the inherent ethical issues in these disciplines, that’s why college programs are designed to concentrate heavily upon them, and there are massive laws for ethical enforcement.

    Beautiful teeth. I, too love opals. I wonder if they are synthetic? Synthetic opals are not brittle.

  23. Hello! Thank you so everyone who has posted such kind words! It is greatly appreciated. Due to bad memory, if anyone has any further questions, you may also reach me directly on . Thank you and I hope everyone is well !

    Best Regards,
    Christian Noni


  25. Pingback: ModBlog - Tooth Filing Museum Skull - Body modification and ritual blog sponsored by

  26. That’s really awesome. I love how subtle they are. Definitely better than that tacky crap Paul Wall’s got goin on.

  27. The opals are beautiful. What I like about this particular mod is that you wouldn’t necessarily know he had them until he smiled or you saw them close up… element of surprise!!

  28. People today are getting very “tribal” and body decorations like tattoos or in this case opal inserts are very fashionable with the culture of personal adornments.
    Thanks for having explained it in detail, and making people aware of this. Keep us informed.


  29. I loved quite a few things about this article!! I was just looking for some brief information about shell implants done by Mayans. I heard about this from my dentist, and quite amazed I wanted to check it out! I was happy with the information I found, but then I got drawn to the whole story! I’m really happy that Christian got new teeth, and they look awesome!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>