Dental and oral diseases in Medieval Persia, lessons from Hedayat Akhawayni
Kazem Khodadoust, Mohammadreza Ardalan, Reza Pourabbas, Majid Abdolrahimi
Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine: 2013, 6:9
Persian physicians had a great role in assimilation and expansion of medical sciences during the medieval period and Islamic golden age. In fact the dominant medical figures of that period were of Persian origin such as Avicenna and Razes, but their works have been written in Arabic that was the lingua franca of the period. Undoubtedly the most substantial medical book of that period that has been written in Persian belongs to Abubakr Rabi ibn Ahmad al-Akhawayni al-Bokhari and his book, Hidayat al-Mutallimin fi-al-Tibb (Learner’s Guide to Medicine).There are two chapters related to oral and dental diseases in the Hidayat, a chapter on dental pain and a chapter on bouccal pain. Akhawayni’s views on dental diseases and treatments are mainly based on anatomical principles and less influenced by humeral theory and no mention about the charms, magic and amulets. False idea of dental worm cannot be seen among his writings. Cutting of the dental nerve for relieving the pain, using the anesthetizing fume, using the natural antiseptic and keeping the tooth extraction as the last recourse deserves high praise.
During the Islamic scientific Golden Age that started in the 9th century, Islamic medicine greatly influenced European science, an effect that continued until the Renaissance. Islamic scientists not only accumulated the existing information, but added to this knowledge through their own observations, trials and skills (1-3). Persian physicians had a great role in this period of innovation, commentary and systematization, and the dominant medical figures of that period were of Persian origin: Ali ibn Sahl Rabban al-Tabari (807 9th- 870 AD, 194 – 257 Hijra), Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi (865 – 925 AD, 252 – 312 Hijra), Ali ibn al-Abas al-Majusi (930 – 994 AD, 317 – 381 Hijra) and Abu-Ali al-Husayn ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (981- 1037 AD, 368 – 424 Hijra). All their great works, however, have been written in Arabic, as it was the lingua franca of the period (1, 2). The Samanid dynasty (875 – 999 AD, 262 – 386 Hijra) established an autonomic state and nurtured the revival of Persian literature and traditions.