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The Origins of Orthodontia

June 4, 2015

You know that braces straighten teeth, correct bites and help align the jaw but did you know that the science of orthodontia dates back to Hippocrates? That’s right there’s a history behind those brackets and wires. If you really want to appreciate your treatment plan, check out this – very – brief history of orthodontia.

Ancient Times — Aulus Corneilus Celsus recorded the first treatment of crooked teeth by, “finger pressure.” Remains of Ancient Romans have been found, teeth bound with gold wire. Some mummies have even been discovered with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. Historians believe they closed tooth gaps with a cord made of animal intestines.

18th Century – Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, is credited with inventing orthodontia in his book, “The Surgeon Dentist.” His device was an iron arch called a, “Bandeau,” essentially an early palate expander. His successor, Louis Bourdet, perfected the, “Bandeau,” and began extracting teeth to assuage crowding.

19th Century – in 1819 Orthodontia became a science with the dawn of the wire crib. Several dentists began creating instruments that, in effect, laid the groundwork for modern braces. In 1843 gum elastics came on the scene and followed up by rubber bands in 1850. And, finally in 1880 a dentist named J.N. Farrar was the first orthodontist to suggest that using mild force over a period of time was the best way to correct crooked teeth.

20th Century – In 1901, the first school of orthodontics and the American Society of Orthodontia were founded. And, classification systems for the crookedness of teeth were put into place. The practice took off from there, and allowed for orthodontia to become a bon a fide science.

Today –Patients can choose from traditional, clear, and lingual braces. You don’t even need metal to straighten your smile or correct bite thanks to Invisalign. And, as technology advances the possibilities of orthodontics are limitless.

Orthodontia has sure come a long way from, “Finger pressure,” “Bandeaus” and animal intestines holding teeth together. It makes us all grateful we’ve got choices and Tylenol.





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