Although we often think of Orthodontics as a fairly modern dental specialty, it turns out that people have been trying to achieve a beautiful smile and a healthy bite for several centuries. Below are some interesting and somewhat surprising facts about the early years of orthodontic treatment.
According to scholars and historians, braces date back to ancient times. Archaeologists have discovered mummifies ancient individuals with what appear to be metal bands wrapped around their teeth, and a cord made of the natural fibers from animal intestines performing the role of the orthodontic wire.
In 1728, French dentist Pierre Fauchard published a book entitled “The Surgeon Dentist” on methods of straightening teeth. He even used a device called a “Bandeau”, which was horseshoe shaped metal appliance intended for expanding the dental arches. In 1754 another French dentist, Louis Bourdet perfected the Bandeau and was the first to recommend extraction of the premolar teeth to alleviate crowding and improve jaw growth.
Orthodontics as a science of its own did not exist until the mid-19th century. In 1819 the wire crib was introduced, and marked the birth of contemporary orthodontics. Gum rubber elastics were first used in 1843.
In the early 20th century, Edward Angle devised the first simple classification system for malocclusions, such and Class I, Class II, and so on. His system is still used today. Angle also contributed greatly the design of orthodontic and dental appliances. He founded the first college of orthodontics, organized the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which later became the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930s.