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The history of orthodontics

For almost as long as we’ve been flashing our pearly whites, we’ve been finding better ways to create the perfect smile. In fact orthodontics may well have been practised more than 2300 years ago, with Cleopatra among the celebrities employing early techniques to improve her teeth.

Here’s just a little insight into the history of orthodontics and how it’s changed over time.

Long, long ago

Scholars believe straightening teeth using braces could well date back to ancient Egypt, with Norman Wahl noting in the American Journal of Orthodontics that archaeologists have discovered Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands.

In 400BC famed Greek medical practitioner Hippocrates spent time pondering ways to straighten teeth, while Roman Writer Celsus later surmised that children’s teeth could be coaxed into place by applying daily pressure.

Wearers of note in ancient times may have even included Cleopatra, while natural fibres like catgut and precious metals such as gold were among the tools used to assist.

The 1700s

Straightening teeth may date back to ancient times, but the real rise of orthodontics took place in the early 1700s, courtesy of a French dentist who is widely credited as the father of the field.

Pierre Fauchard wrote a book on his methods of teeth straightening that included a device entitled the Bandeau. This was a piece of iron that was inserted into the mouth to help expand the arch.

The 1800s

By the 1800s orthodontics was beginning to come it’s own field. Dentists were honing the art using techniques and equipment’s that are familiar today. These included a wire crib, elastic, and the application of mild pressure at timed intervals to gently shift the teeth into their ideal position.

The 1900s

The 20th century saw orthodontics become a recognised independent field. In 1901, the first society of orthodontists was established in the US, while the simple way that teeth are classified according to how they fit together was also developed.

The 21st century

Teeth straightening and braces might have a lengthy history, but undoubtedly some of the greatest developments have occurred within the last 100 years.

With new technology like precise imaging, digital planning and customised treatments, orthodontic treatment is now less painful, less time consuming and more customised to an individual than ever before.

Advancements include removable and clear aligners like Invisalign that provide a discrete yet effective treatment, and the Damon system which offer fewer, if any, extractions, greater comfort and a shortened treatment time.

These new techniques all contribute to a better assessment of an individual’s needs, allowing the orthodontist to develop a customised plan to suit them that is far less intrusive than ever before.

About Norwest Orthodontics

At Norwest Orthodontics we embrace all the latest advancements available including the revolutionary Damon system, and Invisalign aligners. Our motto is “Customised Treatment. Expect Excellence”, and we work with our patients to consistently achieve this goal.

Our focus is to provide a premium service that is caring, communicative and sees you at the centre of a personalised treatment experience.

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

The history of orthodontics

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