A Look Back at the History of Orthodontics

Braces today are not what they used to be. The history of braces spans thousands of years, and the early incarnations were much more crude than the advanced methods of orthodontia used today. While visiting Melbourne Orthodontics for numerous appointments to tweak, tighten, and adjust your braces may seem like a chore at times, it sure beats the methods used in times past! Consider this timeline as a reminder on how much easier it is to achieve straight teeth and a better bite with modern orthodontics!

1600 B.C – The earliest evidence of ‘orthodontic’ treatment that has been discovered was on mummies entombed in ancient Egypt. Mummies from the Egyptian era have been found with animal intestines (catgut to be specific), wrapped around teeth. Presumably to ensure a straighter smile in the afterlife!

770 B.C – 270 B.C – The Etruscans also apparently believed in post-mortem orthodontics. However, metal entered the equation at this junction in time. The Etruscans placed bridges made of gold into the mouth before burial to straighten teeth.

50 A.D – Taking a more proactive approach, some Romans tried to use pressure applied by the finger to encourage proper tooth placement.

1728 – A French dentist, Dr. Pierre Fauchard, is credited with implementing the first modern incarnation of a pallet expander. He used metal in the shape of a horseshoe combined with threads or linen to hold the fixture in place and gradually reduce tooth crowding.

1900s – Modern orthodontic really came into being and the term ‘braces’ caught on as dentists began using materials such as wood, ivory, or gold to create brackets that shifted teeth gradually. No catguts, finger pressure, or posthumous bridges involved!

Late 1990s and Beyond – The field of orthodontics has continued to evolve and improvements in treatment strategies, methods, and efficiency are continually being made. Options such as Invisalign, clear ceramic brackets, and lingual braces became available and increasingly popular.

As you can see from this brief overview, the field of orthodontics has come a long way since early times in Egypt. The next time you visit your orthodontist in Melbourne, you won’t need to worry about catguts or wood brackets! At Melbourne Orthodontics we have the latest in medical technology and techniques to give you the results you are looking for in an efficient, timely manner. Call us now to discuss your options and get your smile success story underway!