How Braces Have Changed
It is amazing where technology has gone over the last several decades. Cell phones keep getting thinner, all the information in the world is available at any time to most people, and we are riding in self-driving cars. Orthodontics is a field that keeps progressing forward as well. Gone are the days of metal braces being the only option for patients. Here are just a few ways that braces have changed.
The First Braces
Ancient Egypt was the first place they found evidence of braces. Mummies had corrected teeth that had a cord running along them made from dried animal skin. Throughout that time frame, archeologists also found evidence of retainers that slowly applied pressure on the teeth. Most notably, an ancient Roman named Aulus Cornelius Celsus was the birth father of braces. He wrote down his attempts to straighten his teeth with a few methods, including a woven gold wire placed along the teeth.
The technology of orthodontics came to a standstill during the dark ages until the late 1700’s. The French were the first to begin taking dentistry to an entirely new level. They created mouth guards that applied pressure at specific points to help straighten teeth. They also were the first to remove the “wisdom teeth” to prevent overcrowding. In 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre officially invented braces as we know them today. He created a woven wire that was placed on both sets of teeth that straightened them over an extended period of time.
The 20th century brought new techniques and tools that were used to straighten teeth further. Because of the lack of a proper bonding agent, the wire had to be wrapped around each individual tooth. The sharp edges of the wires were far from comfortable. Not to mention, the poor aesthetics of having a mouth full of metal. Braces were only for the very rich, as the only metal moldable enough for these braces was gold.
The 1970’s was a time of many breakthroughs in technology. Computers, movie special effects, music, and orthodontics! With new bonding agents, the use of stainless steel, and new techniques created metal braces that we know today. Orthodontists discovered the best placement and developed strategies that allowed people to wear braces for less time and with less pain. The use of alternative metals also made braces much more affordable for the average person. As a result, many more people were investing in a straighter smile, leading to even more research.
Modern Invisible Braces
There are many more options when it comes to straightening teeth than ever before. In the past, you used to only have the choice of big bulky metal braces or painful retainers. Thankfully, now invisible braces, like Invisalign are available to most patients as an alternative to metal. They fit on the teeth naturally and can be removed when you would like to eat something not “braces friendly” or when they need a good cleaning. Many people love the convenience and look of invisible braces.
Slim-Line Metal Braces
While invisible braces may work for many patients, there are some that still require metal for the best possible results. Compared to metal braces 20 years ago, modern braces are much smaller and less noticeable comparatively. The metal component that is cemented on the teeth is more ‘slim-line’ and clear bands can be placed around the metal to make them blend even more in with your teeth. If you are feeling like a pop of color, the bands come in a variety of shades, so you can pick the hue that best fits your mood. The edges of modern braces are much smoother than they used to be, so gum injury tends to be much less of an issue.
What Is Next?
It is amazing how much things have changed in orthodontics over the years. It is no doubt that braces will be less and less invasive in our everyday lives. Experts theorize that invisible braces will become thinner and more comfortable as time goes on. Some speculate that braces will be a thing of the past, and orthodontists will be able to straighten teeth quicker using computerized techniques. Whichever direction braces go, it is truly amazing how important a straight smile has been from the beginning of civilization.
Are Braces for You?
If you are wondering whether braces may be the answer to your smile, you should contact your orthodontist. They will be able to evaluate your teeth and establish whether you would require braces and which would provide you with the best final result. While many people opt for invisible braces, sometimes metal braces are necessary or would offer a better smile at the end. If you are hesitant to discuss braces with your orthodontist due to the price, please note that modern braces can be affordable. In fact, many offices offer financing options that can leave you smiling.