The History of Orthodontics

We have great reason to be thankful for the field of orthodontics. Without orthodontics, several common problems might go untreated – problems like crowded or crooked teeth, incorrect jaw positions or jaw joint disorders, and underbite or overbite. Left untreated, these problems could lead to further and more worrying problems – tooth decay, gum disease, headaches, and biting or chewing problems to name just a few.  Besides all this, orthodontics help us improve our smiles significantly.

So who do we have to thank for orthodontics? What did they do to first begin treating problems with tooth and jaw positions? To find out, we need to look into ancient history, even earlier than 500 BC! 

Mummies

Research by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), reveals that archaeologists have discovered metal bands wrapped around the individual teeth of ancient mummified bodies. Several years later, some teeth were found bound with gold wire in a Roman tomb found in Egypt.

The great thinkers Aristotle and Hippocrates both thought of ways to straighten teeth and improve a range of different dental conditions. They both spoke of extraction and using wires to fix jaw fractures and loose teeth. Hundreds of years later, in the first century AD, a man named Aurelius Cornelius Celsus was the first to record the treatment of teeth using finger pressure.

Despite many significant advancements in dentistry over the next several centuries, no more significant orthodontic breakthroughs were made until around the 1700’s, when French dentists named Pierre Fauchard and Ettiene Bourdet published books with whole chapters devoted to methods for straightening teeth. In their practice, Fauchard used a horseshoe shaped metal as an early form of an orthodontic appliance, and Bourdet was the first to prove the science of jaw growth.

Contemporary Orthodontics

The pioneering efforts of these great thinkers and early dentists laid the groundwork for the pioneers of modern orthodontics as we know it today. When Delabarre introduced the wire crib early in the 19th century, it was considered the birth of contemporary orthodontics. In the 1800’s, gum elastics were first used, and rubber bands were cut from rubber tubing to be used for correcting teeth. Dentists named Kingsley and Farrar wrote groundbreaking books about deformities and irregularities of teeth.

In the 20th century, a man named Edward H. Angle invented a system for classifying how crooked teeth are, and how they fit together. He also instituted the first school of orthodontics, which is now known as the AAO.  At this point in time, braces were usually made using materials such as platinum, gold, silver, steel, gum rubber and vulcanite. But it wasn’t until the 1970’s when many significant advances were made.

Braces wrapped around teeth until the mid-1970’s, primarily because of the challenge of adhesive. It took more than a decade to perfect the formula for an adhesive that would adequately keep braces in place. Different types of brackets were invented and experimented with, and ‘lingual’ braces were invented so that they could be put on the inside of the teeth and therefore be more invisible. This type of braces has recently become more popular because of recent advancements that have made them more popular.

In 1997, Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth invented Invisalign. Neither of them had had any professional dental training, so many people were skeptical of them at first, They applied 3-D computer imaging to orthodontics to create Invisalign – removable, see-through aligners, that are barely visible, and specifically made to fit your teeth.

The Future of Orthodontics

The biggest advances in orthodontics will most likely follow the current rapid changes and advances in technology. As science and technology improve, so does the science of orthodontics.

Computer imaging will help make orthodontic treatment more precise.

Increased demand for orthodontic treatment will lead to more access and affordability.

The future of orthodontics is looking as bright as your teeth once treated with Invisalign by Molen!  Book your FREE consultation today to see if Invisalign is the right choice for you!

 

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