History of Orthodontics
Modern braces are efficient, fast, and cosmetically appealing, but they’ve come a long way. Patients can now choose clear plastic aligners, ceramic brackets, and white wires, or even lingual braces that are bonded to the backs of teeth. The luxury of these choices wasn’t available two decades ago, however. To help understand how far modern braces have advanced, it is interesting to look at their evolution and history:
Orthodontics in the 1700's and 1800's
Dr. Fauchard, a dentist who provided an early form of braces, is often noted as the leader in developing orthodontic techniques. His version of braces was somewhat similar to dental aligner trays; however, his were made of metal and contained openings where teeth could move into ideal position.
An early concept of (highly complex and cumbersome) headgear preceded the first form of bracket and wire braces, and while forms of orthodontics were practiced before the 1800's, what we understand as brace weren’t in use until the mid-1800's. With the development of new materials used in dental treatments, the second generation of braces was created toward the end of the century.
Braces in the Mid to Late-1900'sEven orthodontic appliances in the 1950's and 1960's could be considered primitive by our modern standards. Gold used to be the material of choice, and metal bands were used to hold brackets before dental cement became widely available in the 1970's. Even lingual braces, which some consider a modern standard, were created and offered in the 1970's.
Turn of the Century to Now – Modern Dental BracesPerhaps the most significant contribution to the development of braces technology was Invisalign in 1997. These plastic aligners can be more comfortable than metal braces and offer conveniences that dental braces can’t. While they are limited in their ability to correct severe misalignment, they present an exciting development in braces for many more patients.
Additional innovations include tools that help teeth move quickly and 3D modeling to fabricate aligners and avoid messy impressions. 3D imaging technology also opened the market in clear dental aligners, making this treatment more affordable and accessible than ever before. If patients need bracket and wire braces, they can choose tooth-colored ceramic and even self-ligating, which requires less hardware than traditional orthodontics.
Ask Dr. Robert Nay about braces! If you have questions about which modern braces options are right for your family, call our office and schedule a consultation today!