History of Orthodontics
Until the turn of the 20th century, people had not heard about orthodontics for straightening teeth. Nevertheless, the idea of teeth straightening goes back to ancient times. For example, both Hippocrates and Aristotle mentioned tooth straightening, and archaeologists have uncovered evidence that the Romans used a dental device to reposition teeth. We want you to uncover a beautiful smile.
Credit the dentist Pierre Fauchard for increasing the interest in the orthodontics field. In 1728, Fauchard wrote a book on the subject and invented a device, known as the bandeau, which was used to widen the upper dental palate. Fauchard also recommended fillings to treat cavities. In 1754, the dentist to the French King, Louis Bourdet, published a book, recording suggestions to improve the bandeau. He also is the first dentist to recommend that bicuspids be pulled to prevent the teeth from crowding.
However, it was Fauchard who really sparked the revolutionary idea of teeth straightening with his horseshoe-shaped bandeau - a device that featured perforations in which a string of gold wire was threaded. Fauchard’s Le Chirugien Dentiste (“The Surgeon Dentist”) was noted as the go-to resource in dentistry during the period.
The Evolution of Orthodontia
While the term “braces” was not widely used until the 20th century, the first modern version of braces was developed in 1819 by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. Delabarre created a “crib” made of wire that was placed over every two sets of teeth. By 1843, a system was invented by Dr. Edward Maynard that included elastics to the previously-suggested wire “crib.” The total design was improved in 1843, which made wearing the device more comfortable.
The Specialty of Orthodontics
If you wonder where the term, “orthodontia” originates, its first attributed source is Joachim Lafoulon in 1841. Lafoulon’s reference to “orthodontosie,” translates to the term “orthodontia,” still used today. Around the same period, in the U.S., the idea of straightening was often called “regulating” the teeth. In fact, people frequently went to a barber for repositioning their teeth.
Fortunately, by the turn of the 20th century, things got more organized. For example, Edward Angle is responsible for developing the first system for classifying bites (malocclusions). In 1901, Angle also established the American Society of Orthodontia, later renamed in the 1930s to the American Association of Orthodontists.
Orthodontics – The 1950s Going Forward
Braces used in the past century were quite different than today. During their early use in modern times, the bands used to straighten teeth wrapped around each tooth and were made of gold. (That certainly puts a new spin on the saying - “You look like a million bucks!”) Anyway, because gold was expensive, dentists started using stainless steel, beginning in the 1950s. However, those metal bands still were placed around each tooth. Headgear was used as well.
By the 1970s, the techniques used for straightening the teeth had changed, making the experience more positive. Today’s innovations include lingual braces, which are placed on the back of the teeth, and Invisalign® treatments, which use a clear plastic-type material instead of metal for straightening purposes.
Would you like to include orthodontics in your dental history? If so, we can provide you with a straighter, more beautiful smile. Contact us to arrange an orthodontic consultation. Give Rendon Orthodontics a call at (972) 377-8844 to set an appointment now.