Researchers have found evidence of the earliest known dental procedure, and it’s not pretty. While examining the lower molar of a 14,000-yearold skeleton unearthed in northern Italy, University of Bologna archaeologist Stefano Benazzi discovered the tooth had a large cavity and numerous markings near it. Benazzi and his colleagues reported in Scientific Reports in July that the marks were made with a stone tool in an attempt to remove infected material from the cavity. The procedure “would have been quite painful,” says Benazzi, who added it was only partly successful (though at least the patient survived). His analysis included replicating the damage on modern teeth — relax, he used teeth that were already extracted. The discovery means dentistry is at least 5,000 years older than previously thought.