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Close-up view of metal brackets and wires on teeth

It’s the year 2018 and a lot has changed in every field of medicine since the year 2000. Orthodontics is no exception, and there are always new advances in how your teeth are straightened and cared for. There are many braces options available to patients that were not available in years past. However, some services—such as Invisalign—have been around longer than you might think. Find out when different orthodontic practices and services were available to patients and how orthodontic treatment looked before the year 2000.

 

How Old Is Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people think that orthodontic treatment is fairly new. However, people have been straightening their teeth for many centuries. Their methods were simply much cruder than the braces and orthodontic appliances you know today. Many mummies from Ancient Egypt have been found wearing orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth. Ancient Greeks, Romans and the Etruscans have also been found with various types of “braces” and other mouth appliances.

 

To give you an idea of how long orthodontic treatment has been around, writings by Hippocrates (a Greek physician) have been found about the subject from 400 b.c. Even back then people were concerned about crooked teeth and how they looked. However, there weren’t very good methods for straightening the teeth, so there weren’t many advances in orthodontics until just a few centuries and decades ago.

 

Woman smiling and holding her Invisalign aligners

Past Orthodontic Methods

People centuries ago did not have the best methods for straightening teeth. However, over the centuries, many people made advances or tried various methods such as the following:

  • Ancient Egyptians used metal parts and wires to try to straighten the teeth, as has been seen on mummies.
  • Celsus, a Roman writer from around 1 A.D., wrote about trying to straighten your teeth by pushing them into place.
  • Several years later, a Roman named Pliny recommended filing your teeth down if you wanted them a certain size.
  • Pierre Fauchard was born in 1728, and through his various methods and research in straightening teeth, is now considered the “Father of Dentistry”. One of the methods he tried on patients was forcefully pulling and moving the teeth into place with forceps. He would then tie those moved teeth to others so they could heal back into the mouth again.
  • Dental impressions began in the 17th century by Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann. Impressions make models of the teeth, and this method was so successful that impressions are still used today.
  • In the United States, barbers and medical doctors often pulled infected teeth and performed orthodontic treatment. The treatment varied from person to person and generally involved pulling teeth without numbing medicine.
  • J.S. Gunnell invented a form of headgear in 1822 that was successful in straightening the teeth. However, that headgear was large and fastened to the jaw outside the mouth and pushed on the teeth.
  • Before 1970, professionals in orthodontics wrapped wires around each tooth, anchoring them with a bracket on each tooth. This method required a lot of metal in the mouth.

 

Two young boys that both have braces on their teeth

Modern Braces and Appliances

Modern orthodontic treatment is very straightforward and easy. Orthodontics has advanced so much that people can even straighten their teeth without any visible signs that they are doing so. When you think of braces, you probably think of the metal brackets and wires that so many wear. Traditional metal braces consist of a metal bracket attached to each tooth with a metal wire going through the bracket. This orthodontic treatment method mimics past metal treatments that were done throughout the centuries. However, the brackets and wires take up minimal space in the mouth and gently straighten the teeth.

 

Ceramic braces are another modern option for patients that are most similar to metal braces. They involve the same look and design, except they are made from white, ceramic material. Even the archwire can be made white for a patient. Lingual braces also use a metal bracket and wire design, except that they are attached to the back of a patient’s teeth. These were created in 1976 and provided patients with a way to straighten their teeth without visible brackets on their teeth.

 

Invisalign is the most incognito way to straighten your teeth. Created in 1997, this orthodontic treatment consists of transparent aligners that are switched out each week. A patient will wear the aligners 20-22 hours a day with the freedom to remove them for eating, drinking, sports, playing instruments and more. In about the same time as traditional metal braces (sometimes less), patients can get straight teeth. This is an amazing option, as any teen or adult can straighten their teeth without others knowing.

 

Orthodontic Treatment Today

Many advances in dentistry happened around 1970 and later. This is when the design of metal braces was perfected to what we know it to be now. The future will surely hold many more advances in orthodontic treatment as the years go by. No matter what type of appliance is available or what you choose to have, we recommend straightening your teeth. Not only can it significantly reduce your risk for tooth decay and gum disease, but straighter teeth can raise your confidence and help you be more successful. To have your free braces consultation, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016!

 

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braces design

Did you know that orthodontic care dates back many centuries? The Ancient Egyptians, Romans and more all had methods for straightening the teeth. Some methods worked, while others were just downright painful. In modern times, braces design in orthodontia has been perfected. Each part of the braces is important and plays a role in straightening the teeth. Find out how braces came to be and why they are designed a specific way to get your teeth straight in as little time as possible!

 

Ancient Orthodontics

Braces design and orthodontic work itself has been around for many centuries; it’s not just something that we enjoy today! In fact, researchers have found that the Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, and the Romans were all some of the cultures that practiced orthodontia. However, their methods were vastly different than the methods used today. For example, in all of these cultures, braces design was different than the brackets and wires we know and love. The ancient Egyptians, however, did use metal bands around their teeth. These metal bands were found on mummified bodies, showing that even in death people valued the aesthetics of a straighter smile.

 

Ancient philosophers and physicians had to guess at how best to straighten the teeth. Some physicians forcefully pulled the teeth with crude tools until they were straight. In some of these cases, the resulting loose tooth had to be strapped to an adjacent tooth in order to heal into place. Methods such as these were just downright painful!

 

Evolving Braces Design

In later centuries, more and more philosophers and physicians experimented with better braces design. Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries began using wax molds to make impressions of the teeth. Some also found plaster to be useful in making models of the teeth. Models allowed physicians to view the teeth in their crooked state and then plan how they wanted the teeth to eventually look. Pierre Fauchard is considered the “Father of Dentistry”. He created strips of metal that had spaced holes that fit around the teeth. This is a baseline design of the brackets and wires braces design that is used today to fix tooth alignment.

 

Even though Fauchard made some worthy orthodontic advancements, Edward Hartley Angle is actually the one considered to be the “Father of Modern Orthodontics.” He made a very effective braces design and also identified malocclusion (or misalignment) and how to correct it properly. Eventually in the 1970s, orthodontists were sticking to the braces design of attaching brackets to the teeth and fitting an archwire around both the upper and lower jaws.

 

Modern Orthodontics

In eras past, braces design was done according to the needs of adults. Children did not commonly receive orthodontic care, whereas in modern times they do. Early orthodontic care for children is needed to correct bite and alignment issues that can become severe later in adolescence and especially in adulthood. Once a child has this early orthodontic care, they will later receive braces once more to straighten the permanent teeth as they come in. Many people, therefore, have braces twice in their life if they choose to have orthodontic care. In modern times, around 4.5 million people each year wear braces.

 

Traditional metal braces are the most popular option available to patients, and are the most effective at straightening the teeth. However, technology also allows patients to choose lingual braces, ceramic braces and Invisalign transparent aligners. Lingual braces are metal and are attached to the inside of the teeth (tongue-side). Clear, ceramic braces are made from ceramic material and mimic the same design as traditional metal braces. However, they help decrease demineralization and their white material blends into the color white of the teeth. Invisalign is a system of transparent aligners that a patient can switch out every 1-2 weeks. The most aesthetically pleasing option, it also allows patients to remove the aligners for normal brushing, eating, cleaning, and more.

 

Parts of Braces

In order to take care of your braces well, it’s important to know about all the different parts and why they are important. We will use traditional metal braces as an example. The individual elements that work to correct your teeth are referred to as the “appliance.” The main parts of your metal braces will include:

  • Bands – Patients will have a thin ring fitted to their back molars when receiving braces. This ring is typically made of stainless steel and is used to secure other orthodontic attachments, such as hooks, brackets, or tubes.
  • Brackets – A bracket can either be bonded to the tooth using a tooth-colored cement or it can be attached to a band. They are usually made of stainless steel or clear ceramic depending on the type of braces design you choose. They guide and support the archwire into the appropriate placement.
  • Archwire – This is held by brackets or other orthodontic attachments. The archwire is designed to guide the shifting of the teeth during treatment. These wires are traditionally made from stainless steel, but can also be made of titanium.
  • Elastics (rubber bands) – These rubber bands help create a force to move the teeth in a particular direction. These are especially helpful for pulling down or pushing very crooked teeth into place. The elastics are often attached to a molar band and upper ball hook.
  • Elastic Ties – Elastic ties are small rubber bands that go over the brackets. These hold the archwire in place. They are available in a variety of colors that patients can switch out every time they come in for a check-up.
  • Springs – Using the force of a small spring, a space can be opened or closed between the teeth. These springs go between brackets and around the archwire. They are usually made out of stainless steel or titanium.

 

Get Fitted for Your Braces

Braces are an amazing way to straighten your smile. Braces design has been perfected to get your teeth straight in no time. To get fitted for your set of braces, call Belmar Orthodontics today at (303) 225-9016.