Hesy-Re was the first known dentist and was instrumental in the advancement of the dental techniques we use today. During the third dynasty of Egypt, Hesy-Re was not only a royal physician to Pharaoh Djoser, but a government official and scribe. His greatest title was the ‘Chief of Physicians and Dentists,’ indicating that there was a degree of medical specialization during this early stage of history of Ancient Egypt.
In particular, Hesy-Re was known to practice dentistry on the peasant laborers working on the pyramids. When treating infections, Hesy-Re would drill holes directly into the teeth of his patients. This drilling directly contributed to advanced dental techniques, such as root canal therapy. But, this procedure would have been very painful because anesthesia was not yet designed.
Because of his influence in medical advancements and his relationship with the Pharaoh, Hesy-Re was given an especially ornate tomb. Hieroglyphics depicting various doctor postures and positions adorn the tomb, including detailed engravings of medical instruments.