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Five fun facts about orthodontics

Think you’re in the minority when it comes to wearing braces? Well, think again because at this very moment millions of Australians are in orthodontic treatment. Celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber are just a few who have achieved the perfect Hollywood smile using braces.

Here are five fun facts about orthodontics that are worth pondering as you consider creating the perfect smile…

We’ve been straightening teeth for millennia

The search for a perfect smile that enables us to speak and chew efficiently is a well-entrenched element of human evolution that dates back to ancient Egypt, according to Norman Wahl in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.

These days we use advanced diagnostics, precision equipment and even clear aligners, but the principle of straightening teeth was established centuries ago when Egyptians used crude metal bands. Archeologists also speculate the ancient Egyptians employed catgut for additional pressure.

Aerospace pedigree

That lightweight metal used as the arch wire in braces has some serious scientific pedigree. Made from a nickel and titanium alloy, it was first developed by NASA and is utilised because of its ability to return to its original shape even after manipulation and bending, which enables it to exert the right intended pressure to straighten teeth.

The arch wire isn’t the only link between orthodontics and NASA, either. Clear braces’ brackets also have their origins with NASA, who created transparent polycrystalline alumina (TPA) for use in missile tracking.   

Braces are not magnetic

Contrary to urban myth, while braces may be made of metal they are not magnetic! Why? Because they’re made of non-magnetic metal alloys. For the record, that means they cannot set off airport metal detectors, will not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and they don’t conduct electricity. So, it’s safe to smile about your traditional braces.

Every orthodontist is a qualified dentist

While every dentist is not an orthodontist, every qualified orthodontist has a degree and clinical experience in dentistry. To become an orthodontist in Australia, students are first required to undertake a four-year dental degree, must complete two years clinical experience in dentistry, and are then eligible to study for a further three years to become a qualified orthodontist.

Retainers are critical

A retainer may be the final component of your orthodontic treatment, but they are a critical element of the teeth straightening and alignment process, and should be worn as advised.

Retainers, as their name suggests, retain the desired position of teeth. And, just in case you need a further prompt to follow the instructions of your orthodontist, it’s estimated 25 percent of people who have had orthodontic work will require further treatment because they failed to wear their retainer as directed.

About Norwest

Norwest Orthodontics specialises in helping patients achieve a great smile, no matter their age. We feature a range of orthodontic treatments that span from early intervention right through to remedial adult work.

You can learn more about our services, or contact us to make an appointment.

Five fun facts about orthodontics

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