History of Orthodontics

The desire for a beautiful smile is not new. Humans have been using some pretty interesting methods to straighten teeth throughout history.

Ancient Orthodontics

Egyptian mummies have been found with metal bands around their teeth. Archaeologists believe that the Egyptians used catgut to apply pressure to the bands and move the teeth, similar to today’s power chains. 

The Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans also practiced orthodontics in their own ways. Hippocrates wrote about teeth irregularities (what we now call malocclusions), and the Roman writer Celsus was the first to attempt treating these by applying pressure with fingers.

Once we arrived at the Middle Ages, very little progress was made in all sciences, including the field of orthodontics. Progress did not begin to pick up again until around the 18th century.

The 18th Century

In the 18th century, books were written about methods to straighten teeth. A French dentist named Pierre Fauchard invented an appliance called a bandeau that widened the upper arch and straightened the teeth. He also forcibly straightened teeth with forceps and tied the teeth together until they healed. Ouch!

The 19th Century

In the 19th century, orthodontics began to be thought of as its own specialty. Malocclusions were classified in 1803.  In 1815, the wire crib, the earliest type of modern braces, was invented. In 1822, the first headgear-like appliance came on the scene with the invention of occipital anchorage. Research was performed in this century to learn about the causes of malocclusion. By the end of this century, the first brackets had been invented and rubber bands were being used.

The 20th Century

The first school of orthodontics was opened in this century. The American Society of Orthodontia was founded in 1901. In the 50’s, braces began being made of stainless steel instead of gold or silver. In the 60’s NASA discovered nickel titanium, which orthodontists began using as a gentler wire. By the mid 70’s, brackets were being bonded directly to teeth instead of wrapped around each individual tooth. In the 90’s, Invisalign was introduced to the public. What a long way we came in this century!

Modern Orthodontics

We now have multiple ways to straighten our smiles including metal braces, clear braces, lingual braces, and several types of clear aligners. Digital x-ray machines, which give off less radiation, are used to take detailed images for the orthodontist to study while treatment planning. Many offices are now impressionless thanks to iTero digital scanning technology. Modern self-ligating brackets such as the Pitts 21 system used by Dr. Peterson shorten treatment times and create very aesthetic smiles. 

Always Improving

The field of orthodontics has a rich history and continues to evolve. Dr. Peterson is committed to keeping up with the latest innovations to give his patients a comfortable experience and amazing results at the end of treatment. Schedule a free consultation to learn more!

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