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History of Orthodontics

Modern dental tools used today at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults When you think of orthodontia, does your mind immediately go to the state-of-the-art facility and the cutting-edge technology that we offer here in our office? If you think that orthodontics is a relatively new field, think again! The fact is, the orthodontics have been around for thousands of years and date back as far as the Egyptian times.

There is a bounty of historical documentation that notes how forward-thinking doctors and philosophers approached orthodontic treatment throughout the millennia. While we here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults are certainly pleased with the progress that our field has made over the years, it would be inaccurate to say that our study is a new one.

Orthodontics in Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians were very particular about their appearance, as they felt the body that they had while they were alive would also be the one they had in the afterlife. Archeologists have found evidence of orthodontic work when examining mummies, and they discovered that this civilization used string made out of animal intestines to bind teeth to help change their alignment.

The Etruscans and Orthodontia

There is also strong evidence that demonstrates that the Etruscans also experimented with orthodontic treatment. Like the Egyptians, they believed that the body they had in life was also the one they would have in their afterlife. They were concerned that their teeth would go out of alignment after they died, so they improvised a type of mouth guard to use to help prevent their teeth from collapsing or becoming misaligned in the afterlife.

How the Romans Tried Orthodontics

A medical writer (also known as an encyclopedist) by the name of Aulus Cornelius Celsus was the first to explore how using pressure could change the alignment of your teeth while you were alive. He experimented with using his finger to press against his teeth at predetermined intervals and documented his findings. He soon discovered that by pressing against his teeth, he could indeed change his dental alignment.

Romans also were also among the first to conceptualize dental braces. Archaeologists found that when they examined some bodies that they found in tombs, that the bodies had wires running from tooth to tooth. These wires were meant to close the gaps between the teeth. In case that was not specific enough, there was also documentation of how to use these wires effectively to close the gaps.

France, America, and Beyond

In the 1700s, Pierre Fauchard (who is known as the Father of Modern Dentistry) introduced a device that was meant to widen the upper palate, called a bandeau. He also wrote about how to straighten teeth in his book, The Surgeon Dentist (Le Chirurgien Dentiste). However, the word “orthodontia” was not invented until over 100 years later, and it took another 50 years beyond that for the creation of the American Society of Orthodontia. That was around the time that the word braces was introduced, and the evolution of braces began.

Orthodontics has a very rich and diverse history, making our study a fascinating one! If you would like to learn more about the history of orthodontics, or you are ready to set up an appointment with us here at First Impressions Orthodontics for Children & Adults, please give us a call today at (203) 307-0996.


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