How Have Braces Evolved?

Orthodontic Care Has Been Around Longer Than You Think

Young Girl with Braces & ice cream coneAny of our ARCH orthodontists will tell you that one of the coolest things about our jobs is keeping an eye on the latest advancements in teeth straightening technology. But in order to better appreciate where we’re headed in the future, it’s always a good idea to know how far you’ve come from the past. Let’s take a look back on how braces have changed over time!

A Timeline of Transition: Bracing For Success

Here are some of the highlights of how times and orthodontic technology have changed over thousands of years to create straighter, healthier smiles.

Mummy Mouth Magic

Thanks to archaeologists some of the earliest forms of braces have been detected on Egyptian mummies dating back over 50,000 years ago, according to the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. These unique human specimens were found to have crude metal bands wrapping around their teeth. Scientists also found a natural cord made from animal fibers tied to these bands, designed to create enough pressure to re-position teeth.

The Ancient Greeks, Etruscans, Romans — Oh My!

These fine folks also saw the need and importance of orthodontic care, using some interesting tactics to try and make teeth straight. Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates first wrote about correcting tooth irregularities around 400 B.C. Meanwhile, Etruscan women were fitted with gold bands around their teeth after death to forever preserve their perfect positioning. The Roman writer Celsus suggested you could move teeth by regularly pushing them with your fingers.

Making it Official in the 18th Century

Fast forward to 18th century times. This is when we meet Frenchmen Pierre Fauchard who is considered the Father of Dentistry. He invented an oral appliance called a blandeau — a horseshoe-shaped metal strip with evenly spaced holes that fits around teeth to adjust alignment and widen the palate. He also would perform surgery, tying teeth to one another to force them into a new position.

The Birth of Rubber Bands and Brackets

If you have metal braces, you also know how important it is to have rubber bands to help adjust bite and jaw position. Well, you can thank Edward Maynard and E.J. Tucker for this advancement! Maynard first used gum elastics in 1843 while Tucker fabricated rubber bands for braces in 1850. Around 1915, Edward Angle invented brackets that could attach to bands positioned around teeth.

As you can see, braces and teeth straightening solutions have come a long way over thousands of years. Today, some braces contain nickel titanium developed by NASA with special shape memory that’s easily activated by pressure or body heat. What a drastic difference?! At all nine of our ARCH Orthodontics locations, we offer a variety of ways for you to achieve a straighter, healthier smile! Give us a call to and let’s chat about how you and your smile can enjoy all the benefits modern technology has to offer.

Visit our offices in Bridgewater, Brockton, Randolph, Canton, Westwood, Orleans, Hyannis, Hyde Park, and Stoughton.

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