Using orthodontic devices to improve your smile is nothing new. In fact, people have been trying different methods to straighten their teeth for hundreds of years. They just weren’t using the same techniques that are used in modern orthodontics.
Wondering how people used to try to straighten their teeth in the past? The following is a brief overview of the history of orthodontic braces.
Devices to Straighten Teeth Date Back All the Way to 400 BC
It is hard to imagine, but orthodontic devices date back all the way to ancient times. Many archeologists have discovered the creation of small devices that appear to have been used to straighten teeth or fill in gaps when teeth had fallen out.
The devices that were used look nothing like today’s modern orthodontic devices with metal wires and ceramic brackets. The ancient orthodontic devices that were found used things like animal intestines, pure gold, catgut, or ropes to push the teeth into their proper position.
The Very First Set of Braces
Due to a lack of record keeping, not much is really known about orthodontics until around 1720s. That is when there is considerable documentation that details some of the methods that were used to improve people’s smile.
Some of the methods that were used around the 1720s are similar to what is used in modern orthodontics. The difference is the devices used in the 1720s were often bigger and bulkier than the devices used in modern orthodontics.
Some of the methods that were used in the 1720s to help improve people’s smile include:
- Use of a device known as the Bandeau. The Bandeau, which was created by a French dentist, was a giant piece of iron that was shaped like a horseshoe. It was placed in the mouth and used to widen the palate so that teeth would have room to shift and move into proper placement.
- Tooth extraction. This was the first time that people recommended removing teeth, such as the premolars, to create extra space so that teeth could shift into proper alignment.
- Jaw placement and growth impacts how teeth grow. Several dentists during this time period discussed how the placement of the jaw and how it grows could determine whether teeth grow in at a proper angle.
The Journey to Modern Orthodontics
Even though people in the 1720s improved their smile using methods that are similar to orthodontics, it didn’t become an actual dental practice until sometime in the 1800s. In the 1800s, dentists decided to specifically work to advance this form of dentistry.
Some of the significant dates in the history of braces include:
- 1819 – the first wire crib was created and used to help improve the placement of teeth in the mouth
- 1843 – gum elastics were first used to realign the placement of the jaw
- 1850 – rubber bands were used to replace gum elastics. The rubber bands were made out of rubber tubing that was cut into thin pieces and used to create bands that fit a person’s mouth.
- 1880 – dentists started experimenting with using force to move teeth into proper their proper position. It was suggested that applying a small amount of force every few weeks/months could help encourage the teeth to move into proper alignment.
A Look at Modern Orthodontics
Thanks to advances in orthodontic technology, people who want to improve their smile have a number of different treatment options available to them. Some of the modern orthodontic treatment options that may be available include:
- Traditional braces which include the use of rubber bands, wires, and brackets
- Clear braces which are similar to traditional braces but use clear ceramic brackets so the braces appear ‘invisible’
- Invisalign which uses clear plastic aligner trays to shift and move the teeth in the mouth
- Lingual braces which places the wires and brackets on the backs of the teeth so they aren’t noticeable from the front
Interested in improving your smile? Call Valderrama Orthodontics at (321) 425-5050 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Valderrama to see what can be done to get you the smile you have always wanted.