A Brief History of Orthodontics

It’s hard to believe there was a time when orthodontics didn’t exist. It seems as though there have been ways to straighten our teeth for as long as we can remember, and in some ways, this is true! Orthodontics has been around for a long time…even longer than you may realize. But it all had to start somewhere, so who was responsible? How did it all begin? Let’s delve into a brief history of orthodontics to see just how old this practice actually is and how it has evolved into what we know today.

What is Orthodontics?

In a nutshell, orthodontics is the process by which the teeth are straightened within the mouth using certain devices. These devices can include:

  • Braces
  • Aligners
  • Expanders
  • Retainers

Orthodontics corrects a variety of issues with the teeth and jaws, ranging from mild to severe. These issues include:

  • Underbites, overbites and crossbites
  • Crowding and spacing issues

So, how did it all begin, you ask? Many people believe orthodontics didn’t begin until well into the 20th century, but the truth is, orthodontics was on the scene for a long time before.

How Orthodontics Began

Although various methods of orthodontics have been reported as far back as ancient Egypt, orthodontics as we know it today, began in the 18th and 19th centuries in France with Pierre Fauchard. Fauchard published a book, entitled, “The Surgeon’s Dentist,” which discussed the various options for straightening teeth. He started out with a piece of iron shaped like a horseshoe and designed to expand the palate.

It wasn’t until 1819, however, that wires were introduced into the process, followed by elastics in 1843. From there, the field of orthodontics began to grow into some of the same means of treatment we see being utilized across the globe today.

The Evolution of Orthodontics

Bite classes were first introduced by Edward Angle in the 20th century and are still in use by modern orthodontists to classify the different malocclusions in patients. Bite classes aid orthodontists in designing the right treatment plan for each patient.

Angle founded the first school focused on the study of orthodontics in 1901, which was the forerunner for The American Association of Orthodontics. Orthodontics has continued to evolve throughout the years with the introduction of newer treatment options, such as clear aligners and other options for braces as well.

The Future of Orthodontics

The future is bright for the field of orthodontics as new and improved treatment methods and products are being developed to better treat patients of all ages with all types of issues. The more orthodontics is becoming available, the more patients are turning to orthodontists for a healthier, more desirable smile. A spectacular smile is within reach, thanks to the pioneers who paved the way for the future of orthodontics.

Let the experts at Charleston Orthodontic Specialists help you get a spectacular smile! Call (843) 4-BRACES to get started!

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