So, you need braces. Welcome to the population of over four million Americans who also wear braces. In fact, for far longer than most realize, braces have been helping people to have better smiles. But with so many people wearing braces, have you ever sat back and wondered how braces came to be? And how did braces improve over the years to become what they are today? Read on.
Though you may recall classmates or one of your siblings donning a pair of metal braces during your school-age years, you might not realize that braces have been around for much longer. The first braces were invented as far back as 1819, by a man named Christophe-Francois Delabarre.
He created a woven wire, referred to at the time as a “crib,” that fit over the upper and lower teeth to straighten them over an extended period. His goal was to create a separation between teeth to prevent overcrowding. To do this, he inserted threads and wedges between the gaps of the teeth.
This said, there is reason to believe that the history of braces goes as far back as ancient civilizations that may have used braces to straighten teeth for the living – and yes, even the dead – for long before Delabarre set to work on his mission to create straighter teeth for the masses. In fact, Egyptian mummies have been discovered with metal posts on their teeth, showing that the culture believed in straight teeth for the living and those entering their afterlife.
The Ancient Romans used ligature wire to align teeth. And the Etruscans (the ancient people of Italy) used a rudimentary type of mouthguard to protect the teeth of their dead. Even the Ancient Greeks used an ancient form of orthodontics to give people straighter teeth and a perceivably better smile.
All this said, it wasn’t until Delabarre’s invention that the path to braces as we know them today got underway.
As with anything we know and use today, advanced technology enables improvement. And as for braces, the improvements made in manufacturing, mining, fabrication, and more have enabled dentists and orthodontists to offer their patients various options for a straighter and more confident smile.
The accidental invention of X-rays by Wilhelm Roentgen enabled substantial accuracy in orthodontics, providing dental professionals with never-before-realized insights into the size, shape, and layout of the teeth. As a result, X-rays, whether digital or analog, have become commonplace in all dental practices.
The development of stronger, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing materials has also been a game-changer. Today, patients often have options for their orthodontic treatment, whether they opt for traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, or Invisalign clear aligners.
Though about 25% of the four million braces-wearers in the United States are adults, many of those adults have shied away from traditional metal braces as they want something less obvious when they smile. This is where the invention of Invisalign clear braces has not only been a game-changer but a lifesaver when it comes to self-confidence.
Invisalign gained near immediate popularity back in 2000 as dentists started recommending its use to patients and demonstrated that they could get the same benefits with clear aligners as with traditional metal braces. Not only that, but most patients with Invisalign can experience straighter teeth in just six to 12 months of treatment, compared to the 12 to 24 months typically required of those with metal braces. Patients with Invisalign can generally expect to experience the following benefits.
As such, Invisalign clear aligners can improve your overall health, and are only available to today’s patients as a result of all of that legwork done by those ancient civilizations so many years ago, plus the continuous improvements in dental technology.
Thanks to Christophe-Francois Delabarre, those ancient civilizations, and a whole lot of science, you don’t need to live with crooked or misaligned teeth.
Visit First Dental Associates in Reading, Massachusetts for an orthodontic evaluation to see what treatment is best for you, and start yourself on a path for a brighter, straighter, and more confident smile. Call 781-423-8138 to schedule an appointment today.