Leonardo da Vinci and dental anatomy.J Anat. 2022 02; 240(2):183-196.JA
Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance polymath, is still recognized today-above all for his oil paintings and mechanical inventions. His anatomical studies have attracted less attention, even though he devoted over 30 years of his life to them. This paper outlines Leonardo's career and research methods and focuses on the importance of his medical images for anatomical research and teaching. Following a short presentation of the state of (dental) medicine in the early Renaissance period, it offers a description of five of his cranial drawings that show the anatomy of the teeth, the nervous and vascular system on inner and outer tables of the skull and the paranasal sinuses in great detail. Leonardo da Vinci had obviously discovered and depicted the maxillary sinus 150 years before the anatomist Nathaniel Highmore, who is usually credited with this discovery. Other anatomical drawings by Leonardo address the correct human dental formula and describe the morphology of the four types of teeth. His handwritten notes show that he recognized the connection between tooth form and function. Finally, this paper evaluates the influence of these discoveries and innovations on the development of dentistry and its establishment as a scientific discipline. There is no doubt that Leonardo da Vinci's preoccupation with the anatomy of the maxillofacial region influenced the development of anatomy and dentistry, even though he never published his anatomical research.