March 16, 2021
Metal brackets and wires may not seem that exciting, but braces have a long and interesting history. There’s so much to learn about them that can help you get pumped up for your orthodontic treatment. If you’ll be having braces placed soon, read on to learn about five fun braces facts you can talk to your dentist about while they’re placing your metal brackets and wires on your teeth!
Modern Braces Date Back to Almost 300 Years Ago
Imagine this: the year is 1728 and French physician Pierre Fauchard just published a book called Le Chirurgien Dentiste (The Surgeon Dentist). People on the streets were buying copies because it was unlike anything that had ever been written. It included detailed descriptions and renderings of the anatomy of teeth, a classification of over 100 different dental diseases, case studies, and a detailed image of what we now know as modern orthodontic appliances. Except, well, his was a little more old-school. It was called a “Bandeau,” and it featured a horseshoe-shaped, metal palate expander. That’s where it all started!
NASA’s to Thank for Modern Braces
Before 1959, braces were made from gold, which was incredibly expensive. In 1959, NASA developed a cheap, special metal alloy called nickel titanium that would help make orthodontic treatment just as effective and more affordable. NASA also created the smooth, round metal used to make invisible braces as well, called polycrystalline alumina.
Braces Can Do More Than Straighten Teeth
Many people think of braces as a one-dimensional treatment that’s used to just straighten teeth. However, that’s not all they can do. They can help fix bite problems that lead to serious issues like teeth grinding and TMJ dysfunction as well as close gaps between teeth. If the orthodontic issues at hand are really serious, they can even help patients improve their chewing, swallowing, breathing, and speech.
The Idea of Braces Dates Back to Ancient Egyptians
Who knows whether braces would be what we know them as today without ancient Egyptian communities. They crafted their orthodontic appliances out of dried sheep, horse intestines and metal. They’d even put this ancient-version of braces on mummies to keep their dental structure intact in the afterlife!
Braces Aren’t Just for Teens and Pre-Teens
Not everybody has an opportunity to get braces as a teenager or pre-teen. In fact, it’s estimated that out of the four million Americans with braces, one million of those are people who are over the age of 18. The bottom line is, you’re never too old to get braces!
Now that you know a little more about the history of braces, you can appreciate your orthodontic treatment a little more. While braces made from sheep and horse intestines are a far cry from the metal brackets and wires that we know of today, there’s still so much to appreciate about how far this treatment has come!
About the Author
Dr. Rafiq Hirji has been straightening his patients’ smiles, fixing bite problems, and addressing other orthodontic issues with braces for over a decade. He has taken advanced education courses in a wide array of specialized treatments, including orthodontics and pediatric dentistry. He’s truly passionate about helping patients of all ages transform their smile and improve their oral health with braces! For questions or to schedule a consultation to learn more about orthodontic treatments, visit Daily Smiles MacArthur’s website or call 972-546-4114.
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