The Early History of Braces

You may think the desire for straight teeth is a feature of our modern image-conscious society.

But there is evidence going back hundreds of years of devices being used to straighten teeth.

Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains where there were crude metal bands wrapped around individual teeth.

And Roman tombs also revealed evidence of teeth being bound with gold wire.

Around 500BC, Hippocrates and Aristotle both talked about how to straighten teeth and fix various dental conditions.

Nevertheless, it was much later that significant progress was made in orthodontics.

In 1728, French Dentist Pierre Fauchard published a book called the “The Surgeon Dentist” with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth.

Scottish surgeon John Hunter wrote “The Natural History of the Human Teeth” in 1771, which described dental anatomy in clear detail and came up with terms in use today such as cuspids, incisors and molars.

While teeth straightening has been practiced since early times, orthodontics did not exist as a separate science until the mid-1800s.

The introduction of the wire crib in 1819 is seen as marking the birth of contemporary orthodontics although the term orthodontia was actually coined by Joachim Lafoulon in 1841.

In the late 1800s, Eugene Solomon Talbot was believed to be the first person to suggest using X-rays for orthodontic diagnosis.

But the real advancements in orthodontics came in the late 19th and 20th Centuries.

 

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