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How Long Have Braces Been Around?

People often think of dental care as a recent invention. While the procedures followed and tools used may be newly refined and developed, they have roots that go much further back.

For example, Egyptians would crush rock, mint, salt, pepper, and dried iris flower to create a sort of toothpaste powder. And Romans would use stale urine to whiten their teeth.

Yes, that last one is pretty disgusting, but it did work to a degree.

Though teeth problems have become more prevalent in modern culture with the rise of sugar and acidic foods, they’ve been around as long as people have been. That includes alignment issues.

How did they solve misalignment then? Let’s take a look.

A Brief History of Braces

Much like toothpaste, braces also find their roots in Egypt. Sort of. Archaeologists have discovered mummies with crude bands wrapped around their teeth. In some cases, they were metal. Other times, they were made out of animal intestines.

However, because these are specially prepared mummies, we don’t know for sure if these bands were applied while the people were still alive, or it was simply a part of the mummification process. Egyptians put a high value on the appearance of their dead, wanting them to look their best in the world beyond ours.

The Etruscans had a similar practice. They would place dental applications on the teeth of their dead so that their mouths wouldn’t collapse in the afterlife.

As for treating alignment while people were still alive, there are scattered records of Greeks and Romans attempting to do so. One Roman philosopher suggested applying regular finger pressure to slowly force teeth into their proper place.

Another suggested filing down elongated and misaligned teeth. That’s not the best advice.

The Rise of Modern Braces

It’s not until the 17th century that we see proper documentation of familiar dental practices, where dental impressions were made using wax or plaster.

Still, modern dental and orthodontic practices are considered to have officially started in the 18th century. In 1728, Pierre Fauchard published a book called “The Surgeon Dentist,” where he discussed, among other things, how to straighten teeth.

In his practice, he would use a piece of iron, shaped like a horseshoe, to expand the arch.

During the 19th century, orthodontics began to separate from other dental practices with the arrival of the wire crib and elastic bands.

Finally, in the 20th century, Edward Angle created a classification system for malocclusion, and orthodontists have been using it since.

Modern Braces

We’ve learned a lot about teeth alignment in the past few hundred years of orthodontics. Because of that, there are plenty of flexible and affordable ways to align your teeth and achieve your happiest, healthiest smile.

It all starts with a free consultation.

For Lakeville orthodontics, contact Cosmopolitan Orthodontics today!