It really is the best time to get braces or other orthodontic work – ever – particularly when you get it from the best orthodontist in Phoenix! The history of orthodontics is longer than you might think, but mostly it just illustrates how good we have things today. With modern options like Invisalign clear retainers, giving yourself a great smile is truly easier than ever.
A Brief History of Orthodontics
- Ancient Times BCE
People have been trying to correct for dental defects for a very long time! Archaeologists have discovered the bodies of ancient Romans and Etruscans with crude appliances applied to their teeth. Some of the foremost Greek thinkers, including Aristotle and Hippocrates, also weighed in with ideas on fixing teeth.
Then the dark ages happened, and dentistry stalled out. For over a thousand years, if someone had a bad tooth, it probably just got yanked.
- 18th and 19th Centuries
Orthodontics didn’t take a major step forward until 1728 when the French doctor Pierre Fauchard published The Surgeon Dentist – probably the first attempt at an all-inclusive guide to dentistry. In particular, he devoted a chapter to teeth-straightening and created a device called a “bandeau” which is a precursor to modern orthodontics. However, it used a single strip of metal applied to the teeth, rather than individually-attached braces.
A hundred years later, in 1819, we see the first known use of wiring to correct crooked teeth. While very crude, it used a combination of metal wire and rubber to create something recognizable as early braces. (Although these were wrapped around each tooth, which had to be very uncomfortable.)
Then in 1841, the term “orthodontia” was first used, by Dr. Joachim Lafoulon. Orthodontics finally became a separate practice.
- The 20th Century
It’s only in the last hundred years that modern orthodontics evolved. The real pioneer here was an American – Dr. Edward Angle. He founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, invented and refined modern per-tooth orthodontic brackets during 1915-1928, and also developed the first classification system for malocclusions. Quite the pioneer!
From there, we were on track to the bulky headgear of the 1950s, followed by steady slimming down of orthodontics until finally getting modern convenient orthodontics by the end of the century!