The History of Braces
December 10, 2014
Since they were first developed, braces have come a long way. Now braces are more effective, safe, and comfortable than ever before. Take a look back through history as to how orthodontics have changed, and what strides have been made to improve the care of our teeth.
As early as 400 BC people were thinking about methods for straightening teeth. The Etruscans, located in ancient Italy were known to bury their dead with appliances that had been used in life. These raw appliances were used to prevent the collapsing of the teeth as well as maintain the right spaces between the teeth. In ancient Roman tombs mummified remains have been found with their teeth bound using gold wire. These may have been the first attempts at braces.
After these ancient techniques, not many strides of improvement had been made until the 18th century. In 1728 Pierre Fauchard published a book that went into detail on the methods he knew of to straighten the teeth. He is now known as the father of modern dentistry for the research he did. A few years later in 1754, Louis Bourdet, another French dentist, refined the blandeau. This was a device first made by Fauchard to
widen the upper palate in the mouth. In addition to this, he was the first dentist that successfully extracted teeth to make room for overcrowding.
It was during the early 1800s that orthodontics started to become its own field. There were a few important dentists in the field that helped to make this happen, each advancing the braces themselves along with the tools used to complete procedures. In 1819, the wire crib was invented by Delabarre. Today this creation is seen as the birth of modern orthodontics.
During the early part of the 20th century an American dentist named Edward Angle created the first classification system for malocclusions. Today this system is still used, allowing dentists to judge on a scale how crooked someone’s teeth are. In the early 1900s he founded his school of orthodontics, as well as organizing the American Society of Orthodontia.
Today braces are nothing like what was used for those ancient found. New technologies including Invisalign have made the process of braces faster, more manageable, and all around better for patients. This branch of medical work continues to improve as research moves forward.