). A tooth.
Artificial teeth were made and used by the ancients, as may be seen from several passages
in the classic writers. Cicero (De Legibus
, ii. 24) quotes a very old
sumptuary law forbidding gold to be placed in the tomb with the body, but especially
excepting the gold used in fastening the artificial teeth. Little is known
of the degree of skill attained by ancient dentistry. Martial (i. 73) speaks of one
Aeglé as provided with teeth “of purchased bones and ivory”
(dentata . . . emptis ossibus Indicoque cornu
The word dens
is also used of a number of pointed objects, such as the
fluke of an anchor (Verg. Aen. vi. 3
); the barb
of a hunting-spear (Cyneget.
108); the prong of the implement called ligo
(q. v.); of the ploughshare (Varr. L. L.
v. 135); the
tooth of a rake or harrow (irpex, occa, rastrum
); the tooth of a saw
Met. viii. 246
); the wards of a key (Tibull. i. 2, 18); the hook of a
Carm. ii. 397
); the cog of a wheel (Vitruv. x. 5); and poetically of a
pruning-hook (dens curvus Saturni
Georg. ii. 406
Dens densus is the name given to a finetoothed comb (Tibull. i.
9.68), a specimen of which,
Dens Densus, or Comb. (Rich.)
exactly like those in use to-day, is given in the above illustration of one found
in a Roman tomb.