Crooked and misaligned teeth have plagued humans for generations. Archaeologists have found human remains with crooked teeth that date back 50,000 years. Not surprisingly, people have been trying to straighten teeth for a very long time.
Who Were the First Orthodontists?
The ancient Egyptians may have been the first people to practice orthodontics. Archaeologists have found mummies with crude metal bands around their teeth, and some researchers believe that the Egyptians might have used catgut to serve as ligatures and put pressure on the teeth.
The ancient Greeks, Etruscans and Romans also practiced crude forms of orthodontics. Etruscan women would sometimes be buried with a gold band on their teeth to keep them in the proper position. Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician, wrote the first known description of tooth abnormalities in 400 BC.
Four centuries later, the Roman writer, Celsus, recommended regularly pushing newly emerging teeth with one’s fingers to ensure they were in the proper position. Pliny the Elder (23 – 79 AD) recommended filing overly-long teeth down to their proper size.
How Many People Get Braces?
In the United States alone, there are nearly four million people undergoing orthodontic treatment. Around 75 percent of these patients are under 18.
What Is the Difference Between Dentists and Orthodontists?
About two or three more years of education. Both dentists and orthodontists go to dental school, and both receive degrees allowing them to practice general dentistry. The aspiring orthodontist, however, then takes part in a residency program where they learn orthodontic procedures. Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry, so all orthodontists are dentists – but only five or six percent of dentists are orthodontists.
Who Invented the First Modern Braces?
Pierre Fauchard (1678 – 1761) is considered the father of modern dentistry. He invented a horseshoe-shaped device made of iron called the “bandeau” that could expand the arch. He also wrote “The Surgeon Dentist,” which described ways of straightening teeth.
In 1819, another Frenchman, Christophe-Francois Delabarre, invented the wire crib, an early form of metal braces. It could be placed directly on the teeth. Dr. Edward Maynard was the first dentist to use elastics to try to correct jaw alignment in 1843.
Dr. Edward Angle invented the first modern brackets in 1915. The first modern braces around this time were made of gold. Orthodontists chose it because gold is a soft metal that can be molded and shaped very easily. Unfortunately, that same softness meant that the gold would eventually stop putting pressure on the teeth.
Consequently, the patient needed to have their braces adjusted a lot. Gold braces were also extremely expensive. Stainless steel was developed during World War II, and orthodontists soon began using it instead of gold.
When Was Invisalign® Invented?
Invisalign® aligners are transparent and removable braces. Zia Chishti invented them in 1997. He and his business partner, Kelsey Wirth, founded Align Technology in the same year to make Invisalign®. Three years later, Align Technology began selling Invisalign®.
Dr. Ragan: A Master in Orthodontics
Dr. Ragan of Ragan Orthodontics is committed to providing patients with exceptional orthodontic care. With three locations in Dallas, Dr. Ragan and his team have helped countless people in the Dallas area smile brighter. Contact us today to schedule your orthodontic appointment.