Orthodontics: A History

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You may think of orthodontics as a modern development, but in reality, orthodontics has been developing since ancient times. This branch of dentistry has developed gradually over time to become the modern orthodontics we know and love today.

Orthodontics in Ancient Times
Human remains with crooked teeth have been found dating back 50,000 years. Ancient Egyptian mummies have been discovered with metal bands around their teeth. It is believed that catgut may have been tied to these bands, thus providing pressure to straighten the teeth. The Etruscans and Romans also practiced primitive orthodontics. The Etruscan’s placed a golden band on women to preserve the position of their teeth after death. Celsus, an Ancient Roman writer, suggested bringing emerging teeth into their proper positions by pushing them with your fingers on a regular basis.

Orthodontics in the 18th Century
Pierre Fauchard, who is considered as the Father of Dentistry, invented a straightening appliance called a bandeau. A bandeau was a metal strip shaped like a horseshoe with holes that fit around the teeth to improve their alignment. Fauchard also operated on patients with a pelican at times. This forceps-like tool forcibly realigned the teeth. Fauchard would then tie the teeth to their neighboring teeth to hold them in place during the healing process. Around the same time period, Christophe-Francois Delabarre tried to space out crowded teeth by placing swelling threads or wooden wedges between each tooth.

19th Century Orthodontics
In 1822, the occipital anchorage, headgear that fastened to the jaw from the outside of the jaw to put gentle pressure on the teeth, was invented. In 1840, Chapin A. Harris published “The Dental Art,” which outlined dental practices, as well as orthodontic ones, of the times. Around 1840, orthodontists began using rubber in orthodontic appliances.

Modern Orthodontics
Beginning in about 1880, Edward Hartley Angle, who is considered the Father or Orthodontics, identified the properties of malocclusion and began addressing them with increasingly effective sets of orthodontic appliances. Before the 1970s, braces brackets were attached by wrapping wires around each tooth. In the 1970s, adhesives were introduced that allowed the brackets to be attached directly to the surfaces of the teeth instead. Around the same time, stainless steel replaced gold and silver as the most common wires material. Lingual braces, which attach to the backs of the teeth, were also introduced in the 1970s.

Contact MP Orthodontics at 214-474-3193 today to learn more about orthodontics in Plano, Texas, and to schedule a visit with Dr. Mark Padilla.