Oral health and correcting teeth have been practiced for a long time. Scientists have discovered dental floss and toothpick indentations in the teeth of early humans and scientists have identified mummified human remains with elementary metal bands on individual teeth. They hypothesize that catgut (a type of twine that is prepared from the natural fiber in the walls of sheep or goat intestinal tract.) was used on these early individuals as brace “wires.” Today’s orthodontics, however, is a new innovation.
History credits two gentlemen for being the most influential in the understanding of malocclusions – Norman W. Kingsley, who wrote “Treatise on Oral Deformities” in 1880, and dentist J. N. Farrar, who had written “A Treatise on the Irregularities of the Teeth and Their Corrections”. Dr. Farrar created brace appliances and was the very first to suggest the use of mild force at timed intervals to shift teeth. Even so, it was not until around 1890 that orthodontics grew to become the niche that it is today.
Dr. Edward Angle, called the “Father of Modern Orthodontics,” was the first to stress the significance of the way teeth match and function together. He wrote a straightforward classification method that permitted dentists to describe how crooked teeth were, which way the teeth were pointing, and how teeth worked together. In 1900, Angle and a few other individuals created a team that was the basis of the American Association of Orthodontists. Around 1901, they began the first school of orthodontics.
Advancements began to quickly progress the new science of orthodontics in the 1900s. During the 1940’s, radiographs were utilised so the orthodontist could see how the bones of the face contributed to malocclusion. This invention permitted orthodontists to start redirecting the development of bones to straighten teeth. In the 1970’s, surgical methods were developed that permitted orthodontic treatments, but the developments of the computer and space age made the treatment options from just a few decades before seem primitive. The grandparents, as well as the parents, of modern patients wore braces so bulky and awkward that the name “tin grin” was used to make fun of them. The process of attaching these braces could take nearly a day and the bands which were fashioned around each tooth required driving the teeth apart to put them in place. Now, brackets are attached directly onto the teeth and nickel-titanium, heat-activated, memory wires are utilised. Now there are colored braces, tooth colored brackets, clear brackets, even brackets that aren’t braces, but clear aligners. Currently, orthodontic X-rays and photos are digital and a computer helps to generate the treatment plan that will straighten a patient’s teeth. New Computers can even produce a graphic showing how the patient will look once his or her smile is properly aligned.
What would those ancient Egyptians, with their “wires” created from catgut, have thought of present day brackets? More importantly, what will the scientists of the future think of our “advancements” a thousand years from now? These technological advancements have all been made with the patients in mind. Discomfort is slight and transient. Realignment exams can be spread out with around 12 weeks in between. Patient-friendly orthodontic appliances are what you can expect presently. Schedule an orthodontic exam for yourself and anyone seven years or older in your household. Tell neighbors, friends and co-workers about the latest breakthroughs in orthodontics which help make a beautiful smile!