The Ancient Science of Orthodontics

Woman biting a strawberry

People can be forgiven for thinking, with this sudden flurry of interest in getting perfect teeth, that in Stevenage, orthodontics is a relatively new branch of dentistry coming into its own after only a few decades of research.

Nothing could be further from the truth. While no one can be entirely sure how far back we can trace the history of orthodontics in Stevenage, where it is now available at practices such as Smilecraft, we do know that it first started in Ancient Egypt. Yes, even then, people wanted beautifully aligned rows of even teeth.

The earliest braces have been found on mummified remains from Ancient Egypt, where cat gut was used as bands to tighten the teeth together. Fast forward a few thousand years and cats are now safe from people wanting aligned teeth. In Stevenage, orthodontics now uses technology that is far more discreet and comfortable than even a few years ago. But how did we get from there to here? Let’s take a look.

France: The Birthplace Of A Dental Revolution

In late 18th century France, Pierre Fauchard, aka the Father of Dentistry, created a teeth straightening device called the bandeau. Invisibility was not high on the design specification for this horseshoe-shaped piece of iron, with regularly spaced holes to fit around the teeth and correct their alignment.

Seeing room for improvement, another Frenchman, Christophe-Francois Delabarre, experimented with another material: wood. Actually, back then it was really only a choice between metal or wood. Delabarre drove wooden wedges between overcrowded teeth to separate them.

Orthodontics moved no further forward until the invention of dental adhesives in the 1970s. Now dentists could stick stainless steel brackets to the teeth and attach winding wires. Thus, we entered the age of the train track braces. They weren’t comfy, they weren’t pretty, but, boy, did they straighten teeth.

Thankfully, dental researchers did not rest on their laurels, and 40 years later, we now have braces made of high tech materials, such as clear ceramic brackets, tooth-coloured wires and thermoplastic resins, which are much smaller and more hygienic. Some braces have even moved on from wires and brackets to use very thin mouth guard-style trays to move teeth and are near invisible.