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The Evolution of braces

posted 01/07/2015

Braces are a modern invention right?

You might think the desire for a beautifully straight smile is a recent one, but amazingly braces have been around for a lot longer than you might think! That’s right – some Dentists in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries were using braces on their patients!

In fact, there is evidence to suggest the ancient Greeks and Romans fitted gold wires to the teeth to help improve bite or to hold them in place as they started to crumble in old age.

While early tooth straightening systems were primitive, several major breakthroughs in the 1800’s helped us to really understand the effects of orthodontics on tooth alignment, jaw development and dental anatomy.

The birth of modern orthodontics

While there were several prominent early figures in the field of orthodontics, in 1900 the American Dentist Edward H Angle really helped to put orthodontics on the map by devising a classification system which allowed Dentists to scale the alignment of teeth. This revolutionary system is still used in the field today.

In 1901, he founded the first ever school of orthodontics. Over the following years his involvement in the design of many orthodontic appliances together with his written work in orthodontic journals and his acclaimed book ‘Malocclusion of the teeth’ helped orthodontics to finally become recognised as a science. The term ‘Braces’ was coined.

Why braces?

Braces are the most common way of moving the teeth in a safe, precise and effective way. Traditionally made of metal, braces comprise brackets which are fixed to the teeth and strong yet flexible memory wire which is shaped to help pull the teeth, millimetre by millimetre, to their desired position. While fixed braces offer the best way to move several teeth highly precisely, removable braces can be used to ‘tidy’ the front teeth much more quickly and conveniently.

So, how is modern tooth straightening different?

Let’s be honest, as tooth straightening goes we’re in a pretty good place right now. Recent advances in orthodontics have given us many exciting and innovative systems allowing us to deal with a range of issues (mild to major) – including gaps, misaligned teeth and bite issues. Whatever the condition of your teeth it’s fairly certain they can be significantly improved.

Don’t be put off by the thought of a ‘metal mouth’. OK In the 1900’s they used materials including gold, platinum, silver, and steel- even occasionally wood!) Modern braces are much smaller, more comfortable and highly discreet-being made from titanium tooth coloured wires and brackets. Some removal aligners are made from clear medical grade plastics – making them virtually INVISIBLE.

Tooth straightening systems today offer much shorter treatment times, often requiring less frequent check-ups. Braces and aligners can be fitted more quickly and comfortably resulting in convenient, hygienic appointments.

No longer a treatment available to those with lots of time or money, braces will not only improve the look of your teeth (and increase your self-confidence) but they could also significantly transform the overall health of your mouth.

Millions of people – children and adults – benefit greatly from orthodontic treatment every year.

What about the future of Orthodontics?

The most exciting thing is that orthodontics continues to improve year on year. As science develops so too does the technology used and materials available. Digital imagining and 3D models are now regularly used allowing us to produce bespoke wires and aligners which can give highly precise results.

As Orthodontics continues to develop it’s likely that treatment will become much more precise making appliances more attractive, comfortable, fast working and highly affordable.

Call Southampton Orthodontic Centre today to find out more about the thoroughly modern tooth straightening systems available.  02380 220008.