Your first exposure to orthodontics was most likely during childhood or your teenage years. Perhaps that was when you had your first appointment to ensure that your teeth were aligned and growing correctly. Maybe you always wanted to ensure that your oral health was in top shape.
But very few people know that orthodontics has a history that dates back centuries. And this is not a granny’s moonlight tale. It is true. Orthodontics has a long and exciting history. Although there were no inventions like braces, clear aligners, or teeth expanders in the past, it was still full of the early stages of what would develop into modern-day orthodontics.
What would it look like getting braces in 500 BC? Sounds crazy? Well, not nearly. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history of orthodontics while marveling at how far we’ve come in this field of oral health.
Orthodontics began way back in 400 to 300 BC in ancient Rome and Greece. Renowned philosophers like Hippocrates and Aristotle birthed the idea of teeth straightening back then, and there is evidence that some in this culture used appliances that would prevent teeth collapse. There is proof of this because some of the dead were discovered still wearing these braces. In addition, a tomb in ancient Rome had documentation about the use of braces.
One can say without a doubt that humans have long been interested in ensuring that their mouths and smiles were as healthy, straight, and as happy as possible. Orthodontics had started to become a reality in those years.
The 18th century
There were no advancements in the field for a long time, but the 18th century proved to be very important for orthodontics. Pierre Fauchard, a dentist in the 1700s, wrote a book on teeth straightening. Perhaps this is why he is considered the father of modern dentistry. Fauchard also created a bandeau. The bandeau was used to widen the upper palate.
Louis Bourdet enhanced this device later in 1754.
The 19th century
Before the 19th century, orthodontics was only a form of dentistry. It was only after the 19th century that it became a separate specialty. Joachim Lafoulon first used the term orthodontia in 1841. That’s precisely when the first wire appliance was used for teeth straightening. This appliance was made with steel, hooks, gum rubber, metals, spurs, and loops. It was different from modern-day braces, but one could see a semblance between the 19th century and modern ones.
This was a consequential and significant time for orthodontics. Edward Angle invented modern orthodontic brackets in 1915. The brackets were attached to small bands and were worn around the tooth. This invention was improved in 1928 by creating a bracket that could be directly affixed to the tooth.
In 1901, angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia. In the 1930s, the American Society of Orthodontia has renamed the American Association of Orthodontists. But that’s not all. Angle also developed the first malocclusion classification system.
Braces underwent very significant advancements and modifications in the 20th century. Most braces used in the 1960s were made with gold. Of course, this is no longer the case. What’s more, braces were initially designed to wrap around the teeth. But this changed in the 1970s. At that time, orthodontists began the direct attachment of brackets to the teeth, peculiar to modern braces. Lingual braces were created around this time. Lingual braces are typically attached to the back of the teeth rather than the front.
The present and future
Modern orthodontics differs radically from what came before it. It differs from what was tenable in ancient Rome and Greece. It also varies significantly from what was found in the 1970s and 80s.
Braces have come a long way, and because many people consider them to be a significant component of orthodontics. But it is also worth noting that braces aren’t the only thing in orthodontics. The entire field has undergone a significant evolution.
Most people have taken note of Beam Clear Aligners, a comfortable, inexpensive, custom-made aligner designed to straighten the teeth in a short amount of time. Beam Clear Aligners are a significant game-changer for orthodontics. They’re highly effective and affordable for those who may want to straighten their teeth. In addition, users can take out their Beam Clear Aligners whenever and wherever they want, for cleaning or maybe just for convenience.
The popularity of clear aligners is constantly on the rise, showing the promise and potentials that the field of orthodontics holds.
The field of orthodontics has evolved in hundreds of years, and there is no sign that it will slow down or stop anytime soon.