It’s always interesting to see where certain things begin and where they’ve ended up. The medical world can seem quite extreme with the adjustments and advancements it’s made even in just the past 100 years. Braces are no stranger to major changes and it can be laughable to see where braces started out and a relief to see where they are now.

When It All Began

David Evans DDS states that early attempts at orthodontics and the use of brace-like procedures were discovered as far back as 1,000 B.C.. There were even mummified remains with pieces of animal intestine wrapped around the teeth as modern brace wires appear now. It seems they were concerned about straight teeth even way back then. In Rome, they used methods such as finger pressure, golden wires, and more. The Greeks even worried about straight teeth in the afterlife and use the animal intestine method in the mummification process.

Around 1770, braces began to be murmured about in medical journals and the like. However, it took a while before they were actually used simply because there was a lot of testing involved. David Evans DDS states that “Before dental braces could be introduced to the general public, extensive medical and dental research needed to be conducted.” In other words, they wanted to make sure every aspect was covered before it was offered as a regular service.

The first set of braces (although this term was coined until the 1900’s) was a “wire crib” done by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. 123 Dentist shows an example of this crude wire crib and it sure makes us thankful we have come such a long way. Most dentists removed multiple teeth in order to use these contraptions up until just shy of the 1900’s. They finally realized this wasn’t necessary.

Modern Times

In the 1900’s there were plenty of advances that had occurred, including using gum elastics. However, no longer was it the wire crib, they began wrapping each tooth and attaching it to a wire, much closer to the modern-day braces. 123 Dentist states that it wasn’t until the 1970’s that dental procedures started to really change. The biggest change was the use of adhesive to apply the wire brackets to the teeth. Let’s not forget that headgear that was popular. Applying the brackets to the teeth and using stainless steel is still a popular technique.

In the year 1997, the need for metal was completely removed (for some) and Invisalign became a popular name. However, 123 Dentist states that it became available to the public in 2000 and that, “Soon dentists and orthodontists all over the world were incorporating this orthodontic treatment into their practice.” The modern braces that are still more popularly used are the metal brackets but Invisalign is also very popular, it’s just not a viable option for everyone needing braces due to certain limitations.

It’s so neat to see all the various changes that have happened over the years to braces. We are certainly grateful for all the advancements in technology that allow us to have the braces we currently use. The future will only bring more exciting options.