The end of the year is fast approaching, and that’s always a good time to take a look back at the past.
At M. Scott Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics in Destin and Panama City Beach, we offer the latest in orthodontic care for children, teens and adults. To learn more, or to schedule an appointment, contact Runnels Orthodontics today.
This week we take a look back at the past, to history, to learn a little about how the field of orthodontics developed and how far it has come through the centuries.
The American Association of Orthodontists notes that while braces were not invented until the early 19th century, efforts to straighten teeth and jaw alignment began centuries before then in ancient Egypt.
Studying the history of braces can help people overcome their fear of receiving orthodontic care, knowing that people have been working to create attractive and healthy teeth for centuries.
Appliances that appeared to be early attempts at braces were found in mummified remains in Egypt. Experts believe these devices were early efforts to close gaps between teeth of ancient Egyptians.
The mummies were found with cords made from the intestines of animals wrapped along the teeth. The system appeared to closely resemble how orthodontists today use wire to close off gaps.
Archaeologists that found Greek and Etruscan dental devices believed that indicates that the practice of a form of orthodontics began around 1000 B.C.
Etruscan burial rituals included preparing the dead for the afterlife before it was entombed. Archaeologists believe burial rituals included placing something akin to a mouth guard into the dead person’s mouth.
Experts believe this preserved teeth spacing prevented teeth from collapsing. The dead wanted to look their best when they got to the afterlife! Bridges were often made of pure gold.
The ancient Romans are credited with the first recorded effort to straighten or realign teeth by using pressure applied by hand, specifically by the fingers. Many teeth of ancient Romans were slowly moved and realigned thanks to this finger pressure process.
Roman tombs opened by archaeologists revealed that some teeth contained wire, known as a ligature. It was used to affix an arch wire to a bracket.
In fact, wire was placed on teeth to force them to move, and to close gaps. Starting to sound familiar? Similar methods have been used in more recent times to help people straighten their teeth.
Before orthodontic braces could be used by everyday people, and not just the rich and powerful, more research was needed. Work on developing orthodontic braces began popping up in medical journals in the 1770s.
The Surgeon Dentist, a medical book, was published in 1728 by French dental surgeon Pierre Fauchard. Fauchard devoted one chapter to orthodontics. It discussed methods to straighten teeth, but featured a new concept – the Bandeau.
The Bandeau looked similar to a horseshoe and was placed in patients’ mouths to maintain the teeth’s natural arch. More years would pass and more innovations would be made, but the history of the braces you wear today can be traced back thousands of years.
We will discuss more orthodontic history in future posts. We hope you enjoyed this one!