The urge to have beautiful teeth can be traced throughout human history. Luckily, the technological advances in the orthodontics industry have made the process quicker and more efficient. Today, most people need braces for just a few years and even have the option for an invisible solution with Invisalign. See how far we have come along with this brief history of braces through the years from the team at Fresh Smiles Orthodontics.
The first records
You can be sure that humans have been pulling out aching teeth since the dawn of time, and it probably was quite painful until very recently. Unfortunately, records throughout history are lacking and very little information about the first sign of braces is known today.
The earliest signs of braces surfaced when archeologists discovered Egyptian mummies with bands wrapped around their teeth. A fun fact you might not know is that the bands were made from the natural fibers of an animal’s intestines. Just another thing teens today can be grateful for!
Skip forward a few centuries and records show that Greek philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle studied ways to straighten teeth and avoid certain dental conditions back in 400 – 300 BC.
18th Century France
It wasn’t until all the way into the 18th century that modern orthodontics was invented and became a science on its own. The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is now often credited for inventing modern orthodontics after publishing “The Surgeon Dentist” in 1728. The book featured various methods to straighten teeth including the use of a horseshoe shaped “bandeau” to help expand the arch of the mouth.
With the foundations in place from Pierre Fauchard’s work, the study of orthodontics took steps forward in the early 20th Century. Most noticeably was Edward Angle’s work, which is still used today. Edward Angle devised the first classification system for dentists to describe how crooked teeth are, what way teeth are pointing, and how teeth fit together. He also founded the first orthodontic journal in 1907 along with founding the first school and college of orthodontics.
Fast-forward a hundred years and orthodontics is now an industry on its own and most kids and teens today are rightfully advised to wear braces. The last few decades show a lot of improvements including the use of stainless steel wires instead of wires made out of gold after the late 1950’s, or the invention of the first modern synthetic toothbrush in 1938. In 1997, Invisalign was created using 3-D computer technology and clear plastic retainers to introduce the first invisible solution available.