History of Braces

history-of-braces-infographicBraces are an effective teeth straightening technique that has been refined over the years. How did braces come about? Who came up with this innovative dental alignment technique?

Ancient Times

Though the field of orthodontics didn’t appear until the 1800s, archeologists have found ancient remains of people, dating back to 300-400 BC, who have some type of braces on their teeth. Whether the braces were an attempt to straighten teeth or for decoration, remains unclear. These braces consisted of simple metal wires wrapped around teeth. Some ancient people placed dental appliances into the mouths of the deceased, to prevent loss of teeth in the afterlife.

The first ever recorded teeth treatment was performed by a Roman physician and philosopher Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who advocated the straightening of teeth with one’s fingers.

18th Century

Advancements in orthodontics really took off in the 1700s. In 1728, French dentist Pierre Fauchard, who is often credited with inventing modern orthodontics, used a tooth straightening devices called the “Bandeau,” which was a horseshoe shaped piece of iron that was used to expand the arch. A few years later, another French dentist named Louis Bourdet, perfected the bandeau and became the first dentist recorded to recommend the extraction of wisdom teeth to avoid tooth overcrowding.

19th Century

While teeth alignment and extraction were now commonplace, the 19th century saw further advancements in orthodontics, making it an official science of its own. Dentists Delabarre, Maynard and Tucker came up with orthodontic appliances that refined braces. Delabarre ushered in the birth of contemporary orthodontics with his wire crib and Maynard was the first to use gum elastics. Tucker was the first to use rubber bands.  A dentist named John Nutting Farrar was the first to suggest the use of mild force at timed intervals to move teeth. American dentist J.S. Gunnell invented the first headgear. In the late 1800s, dentist Edward Hartley Angle, who is considered to be the Father of Modern Orthodontics, began using various orthodontic appliances to effectively treat malocclusion, or misalignment teeth and jaws. Angle also came up with a system of classifying crooked teeth which is still used by orthodontists today.

20th Century

In 1901, Edward Angle founded the first college of orthodontics, formed what is now the American Association of Orthodontists and founded the first orthodontic journal. Other innovations in orthodontics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries included the first textbook on orthodontics for children, published by J.J. Guilford in 1889, and the use of rubber elastics, which was pioneered by Calvin S. Case and Henry Albert Baker. In the mid-1900s, stainless steel came to replace gold and silver wiring and the invention of dental adhesives allowed brackets to be applied directly to teeth surfaces.  In the 1970s, behind-the-teeth braces were first used.

The field of orthodontics continue to advance and improve. There are now many types of braces available from traditional metal braces to ceramic braces to virtually invisible Invisalign. At Glauser Williams, we provide exceptional orthodontic services.  Contact us today to begin the journey to straighter teeth.

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