History of Braces

by Jason 10/31/2013 8:00 AM

For those of you who never got over being called a “metal-mouth” as a pre-teen, it could have been worse. From ancient times, people have wanted a beautiful smile. But it wasn’t easy.

Archeologists have found early braces on mummies, who had fashioned catgut to stretch through crude metal bands to pull teeth together. Back around 400 BC, Hippocrates wrote about attempts to straighten teeth. One Roman whose body was found in Egypt had his teeth bound with gold wire before his death.

By the 1700s, the idea of having a straight smile emerged with the popularity of wooden teeth, promoted by our first president, George Washington. In 1728, French dentist Pierre Fauchard published a book titled The Surgeon Dentist, and he created a bandeau, a device to straighten teeth that looked as fearsome as any torture device. The bandeau was a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal, supposedly used to help expand the arch. Bandeaus remained in vogue until 1819, when Christophe Delabarre invented the wire crib, similar to today’s braces.

Braces remained pretty standard over the next 100 years as dentists learned more about how cavities worked and why teeth fell out. Braces were made from a variety of materials – gold, platinum, steel, gum and rubber. The wires were most always made of gold because they were easier to shape. Practitioners introduced stainless steel wires in the 1950s. Dentists didn’t figure out how to glue the brackets onto the front of the teeth until the mid-70s, and they didn’t move them to the backside of the teeth until the mid-80s. Braces today are no longer the ugly, heavy metal rings of the past. Go here to learn more about how braces work today.

Comments (1) -

Alex@Southern Illinois Braces
Alex@Southern Illinois Braces United States
3/3/2014 11:20:31 PM #

Orthodontic treatment used to be considered "cosmetic", but today, dentists and patients alike realize that orthodontic treatment may be a necessity. Correcting misaligned teeth can often prevent a lifetime of periodontal problems and severe tooth wear, and even premature tooth loss..Great source!

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