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How Has Orthodontic Material Evolved Over Time?

Posted on February 21, 2024

Orthodontics has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Yes, even people in ancient times were fascinated about getting straight teeth. We’re going to take a trip across time to see how orthodontic material has evolved from the most rudimentary sort to the clear aligners that are available now.

Ancient Times

Let’s go back to the days of the ancient Egyptians when Pharaohs ruled the lands. Mummies were found with wire around their teeth. While some of them were metal wires, others used animal insides. It was the most rudimentary type of orthodontic care available, according to the American Journal of Orthodontics.

Other ancient civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, and Etruscans, tried to straighten teeth, but they used crude tools that made having your braces tightened today seem like a walk in the park. It would take a long time for any kind of advancements to be made from this point.

The 18th Century

Now we’re in the 1700s. While there weren’t any advancements in the shifting of teeth, a Frenchman named Pierre Fauchard wrote a dental textbook about straightening teeth. He also made something to expand the arch of his mouth. Another dentist from France, Ettiene Bourdet, figured out a method of extracting teeth in overcrowded mouths.

Let’s head to the 1800s. A gentleman named J.S. Gunner made a prototype of what would become orthodontic headgear in 1840. A dental college opened in Baltimore that same year. John Nutting Farrar wrote the first book on orthodontics in 1888. In the book, he planted the seed for braces, mentioning straightening teeth by small adjustments.

The 20th Century and Modern Times

Now we’re getting to the days of braces, and eventually, clear aligners. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, gold was the metal of choice for braces circa 1900. It wasn’t until much later in the century that NASA would make a heat-activated nickel-titanium alloy. The orthodontic field would adapt that for its own uses.

As you can see, orthodontic materials have changed a lot. Technology allows orthodontists to do things a lot more precisely. The result is a great smile for their patients.

Are you looking for an orthodontist in your area that does braces and clear aligners? We can do that for you. Contact Bret Johnson Orthodontics today to get started on getting straight teeth.

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Spokane, WA 99218

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