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What Was the Earliest Form of Dental Braces in the History of Braces?

The history of braces is rich and has helped shape our smiles

Science is all around us. So when we think about how modern life makes our life comfortable, it is almost inevitable to think about how things were in the past.

For instance, can you imagine how people struggled to travel miles and miles, riding horses to cross nations? and now we have cars and planes, or how they managed to warm their households during winter?

We try to imagine how it was for medieval societies to live before significant technological advancements. For instance, what would a person do if she had a toothache? Or what they knew about orthodontics?

Despite the many questions, something is clear. As sciences started to emerge, dentists began understanding the principles of physics and adjusted them to the human body.

The History Of Braces

This article reviews the historical evolution of orthodontic treatment from ancient times to today. We review primitive forms for moving teeth to the advanced technological treatments available, like Invisalign.

The Ancient Egyptian Civilization

We have transited a long way to get crooked teeth finally getting aligned. Summing up, from the first intent in Ancient Egypt to finally getting crooked teeth aligned in the seventies, lessening the hassle for patients, passed more than 3500 years.

The Egyptian civilization lasted approximately from 3100 B.C. until a Roman Emperor, Alexander the Great, conquered them in 300 B.C. It is just a matter of looking at the pyramids to find out how they had a precise sense of symmetry.

Also, the Egyptians made cords out of animal skin called the catgut that they used to wrap teeth in one of the first attempts to correct spaced teeth, and we would have to give them credit for that.

The Etruscans And The Afterlife Ritual

The Etruscans were a culture that lived in what we now know as Italy around 1000 B.C. and during the Roman Empire age, acquired Roman citizenship.

The Etruscans practiced rituals preparing the dead for the afterlife. Furthermore, culturally, Etruscans fabricated figurines representing the dead on top of a sarcophagus lid, meaning the transcending body to a new dimension.

The Etruscan also created an embryonic form of mouth guard made of gold to protect the deceased teeth from falling. They believed that having all teeth together would help the defunct remain beautiful before entering the afterlife.

A First Methodological Attempt To Straighten Teeth

When we think of science, Romans were ingenious people who developed many things further developed later, like irrigation systems, law, and splendid architecture.

However, back to the orthodontic discussion, a Roman erudite, Aulus Cornelius Celsus, methodologically documented what we can call the first logical attempt to move teeth.

Aulus Cornelius used his finger to consistently apply gentle pressure over a tooth he wanted to move and documented his findings. Unfortunately, tracing them back with accuracy is problematic regardless of his efforts.

However, archeologists found several pieces of something known as a dental ligature made with a gold wire installed in the teeth of the buried, in what someone could theorize was an extension of Aulus Cornelius Celsus’s findings or maybe a continuation of burial rituals.

After the fall of the Roman empire and the advent of the dark ages, there were insignificant advancements in sciences, including dental.

A First Scientific Approach to Orthodontics

A conglomerate of events occurred during the 17th and 18th centuries; it was like the world woke up from an era of darkness. The renaissance marked the path for several events that imprinted a seal on today’s dental and orthodontic advancements.

A French dentist Pierre Fauchard wrote a book named The Surgeon Dentist, describing his modern-for-the-age procedures to straighten teeth. Also, he invented a type of mouthguard called the bandeau, a mouthguard that resembled a horseshoe-shaped piece made of gold to correct separated teeth and keep them straight.

Following Fauchard’s steps, Pierre Bourdet sought to improve his colleague’s findings concluding that extracting third molars (wisdom teeth), along with Fauchard’s bandeau, would upgrade its application. Bourdet compiled his findings in the book titled “The Dentist’s Art.”

The American Tradition – Academics Meets Orthodontics

Before moving to the American continent, in 1819, a talented dentist Christophe-Francois Delabarre created the first device of what we know today as orthodontic braces.

Continuing with the development of orthodontic literature, artifacts, and science, in the 19th century, we list some of the most insightful facts and orthodontic devices of the age:

The Wire Crib

As its name implies, the wire crib was a device installed in sets of two teeth to keep them in their proper position.

Elastic Bands (Rubber Bands)

Charles Goodyear discovered a method to vulcanize rubber; this invention later served orthodontics.

In 1843, an American dentist Dr. Edward Maynard, introduced rubber elastics to the wire crib to modernize the invention and align the jaw into a correct position.

An improvement of Maynard’s invention by E.J. Tucker followed, who reengineered the rubber use of bands, making the system comfortable for patients with overcrowded teeth.

The Dental Dam

In 1864, Dr. S.C. Barnum invented a practical device for dental and orthodontic applications during the treatment of teeth, and the installation of braces named the dental dam.

The dental dam evolved and is now made of dentistry quality latex and serves to protect the gummy tissue during interventions.

Combined Techniques For Optimal Results

As with many developments, there is always a chance for improvement. In this sense, Henry A. Baker successfully managed the removal of denture pieces with other applications and techniques, modernizing the braces and preventing unnecessary molar extractions.

The Birth of Modern Orthodontic Braces

The term braces spread in the orthodontic discipline in the early 20th century, despite its first appearance, thanks to Delabarre in 1819. During the first part of the 20th century, the bracket bonding technique was inexistent, and braces consisted of a gold band or wire wrapped around the teeth.

We finally arrived in the seventies, and the traumatic experiences carried on for hundreds of years finally lessened for patients with contemporary orthodontics. Orthodontic specialists incorporated stainless steel metal and dental grade bondings to the orthodontic treatment with braces, and yes, you figured it out. With subtle changes and intuitive innovations, like lingual braces cemented at the rear of teeth, the seventies stainless-steel metal braces are the same appliances we see today.

Orthodontics Beyond Modern Braces – The Age of the Invisible

We thank you, Zia Chishti, for figuring out what nobody found before. It seems a joke, but its reality, the revolutionary Invisalign Clear Aligners were born from a patient with no orthodontic background.

The story begins when Zia Chishti, A Stanford graduate using retainers, skipped using them and noticed his teeth moving back to their unwanted crooked position. As he immediately resumed using his retainers, his teeth aligned again.

In 1997, he partnered with another Stanford graduate, Kelsey Wirth, and introduced 3D modeling to record staged teeth displacements in patients, developing plastic appliances that converted into aligner trays that were assigned a number accordingly.

In 2000, after three years of research, Chishti and Kelsey finally launched the Invisalign system as we know it today, a simple, hassle-free, comfortable, and almost invisible system of plastic aligners that revolutionized the orthodontic industry.

What Are the Orthodontic Braces We Have Today?

After a long journey of discovering orthodontics evolution, we now bring you a detail of the types of braces and clear aligners with the latest technology for straighter teeth.

Traditional Metal Braces

They remain the most reliable orthodontic mechanism for treating severe malocclusions. Fortunately, high-grade stainless steel metal braces are smaller, robust, and comfortable.

Gold Metal Braces

You can find the same outstanding characteristics of roughness and efficiency of stainless steel conventional braces with a personal touch that goes with your personality.

Clear Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are, in a word, discreet. The brackets blend with your teeth’ color, making them almost imperceptible.

Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

We were talking about discreet options, but what is more discrete than being invisible? At Estes Orthodontics, we work with the latest technology in orthodontic appliances.

Invisalign is the leader in invisible aligners technology that revolutionized the world of orthodontics with reliable, faster, comfortable, and more hygienic treatments.

At Estes Orthodontics, We Work With The Latest Orthodontic Technology to Help You Get a Perfect Smile.

At Estes Orthodontics, we pride ourselves on using the latest technology and having experienced and warmhearted certified professionals that will help you get a straighter smile that is close to perfection. So, come by or schedule an appointment to start the journey to a beautiful smile.

Dr. Estes and her team are committed to ensuring each patient and their families receive excellent care using state-of-the-art treatment options.