Braces Through The Ages

Orthodontics originated when Aristotle and Hippocrates experimented with different ways to straighten teeth and many cadavers and remains have been found with metal bands wrapping their teeth. Other materials used for early orthodontic treatment include animal intestines….!

Orthodontics started to split off and become its own field in the early 1900s. Braces from back in the day were actually made with the same materials as they are now, such as stainless steel, though today there are several additional options such as ceramic braces complete with tooth-coloured brackets designed to make them look more authentic and closer to natural teeth. Other materials used to make braces were platinum, gold, silver and the nuts and bolts such as brackets were sometimes made from ivory, wood, copper and zinc.


Some newer materials (as mentioned above) have some disadvantages which include:

  • Lingual braces can be a very slow way of straightening teeth
  • Ceramic braces risk breaking and staining more easily than other types of braces, though this can be kept at bay with a healthy dental routine.



More results – less pain


It is not only the aesthetic design that has improved over time but also the intricacies of the design and performance. Once upon a time the nuts and bolts of braces (brackets and arch wires) were made of stainless steel as this was a cheaper option but its disadvantage is that it causes the arch wires to wear. Because of this, orthodontists prefer to use copper or nickel – titanium – the strong alloys are sensitive to temperature, making them more effective.



Options for everyone

The removable feature of today’s orthodontic appliances is a major breakthrough that makes a lot of difference to a patient’s quality of day-to-day life.

Back in the day, the option of having transparent and discreet braces treatment was not on the table. Today, treatments such as Invisalign allow for a non-invasive treatment as they use alingers which are more versatile than traditional braces.

Here are a couple of facts about the history of orthodontics:


  • Edward Maynard was the first orthodontist to use gum elastics in 1843 then in 1850, E,J Tucker started making rubber bands which are more effective.
  • N Farrar was the first orthodontist to test the effect of timed intervals to straighten teeth.
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