The Evolution of Braces
Did you know that even in ancient times, people wanted to improve the look and function of their smiles? We think of modern orthodontic appliances as efficient, sleep, and technologically sophisticated, but this wasn’t always so! Check out our highlights of the evolution of braces below.
Ancient Times: From Greece to Rome
- According to The Angle Orthodontist, the first to think about methods of straightening teeth were Aristotle and Hippocrates between 400 and 300 BC.
- The Etruscans, in ancient Italy, buried their dead with appliances that maintained spaces and prevented collapse of their teeth and jaws during life. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains in various locations that have metal bands wrapped around the teeth.
- A Roman tomb has also been discovered in which the teeth were bound with gold wire, including documentation on the wire’s use as a dental device.
18th Century: A French Development
- The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is acknowledged as the father of modern dentistry. In 1728 he published a book that described various methods for straightening teeth. Fauchard also used a device known as a “blandeau” to widen the upper palate.
- Louis Bourdet was another French dentist who published a book in 1754 that discussed tooth alignment. Bourdet further refined the blandeau and was the first dentist to extract bicuspids, or the premolar teeth between canines and molars, for the purpose of reducing tooth crowding.
19th Century: Orthodontics Defined
- Orthodontics started to become a separate dental specialty during the early 19th century. The first wire crib was used in 1819, marking the beginning of modern orthodontics.
- During this period, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite, and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, and copper were used — as was brass in the form of loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures.
- Edward Maynard first used