Cavities, also referred to as dental caries, have caused tooth pain for millions of years. Fossils from the Australopithecus species reveal some of the earliest dental caries from 1.1 million to 4.4 million years ago. Paleolithic and Mesolithic skulls also show signs of cavities. The Paleolithic period took place roughly 3.3 million years ago, and the Mesolithic period began around 8,000 BC.
Two of the leading factors of increased dental caries were the consumption of plant-based foods containing carbohydrates and rice cultivation. This led to the development of the first cavity treatments in Pakistan between 7,000 BC and 5,500 BC. At this time, simple dental drills were used to treat cavities. Text from the Sargonid dynasty of Assyria (which lasted from 668 BC to 626 BC) revealed that tooth inflammation was cured via tooth extraction. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans also used a broad range of cavity treatments.