The history and evolution of braces as a means of straightening teeth goes back thousands of years. Here’s some incredible facts on how the technology of orthodontic treatment has evolved throughout the last few millennia.
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1600 BC – The desire for a perfect smile can be traced back to ancient Egypt! Archaeologists discovered mummies with a cord made from catgut, or animal intestines, wrapped around their teeth much like modern orthodontic wire.
770 BC – 270 BC – Etruscans, who lived between 770BC and 270BC, placed bridges crafted with gold into the mouths of the dead as part of the burial ritual. Straight teeth were even a concern in the afterlife.
50 AD – Ancient Roman medical writer Aulus Cornelius Celsus documented attempts to straighten teeth using finger pressure at regular intervals.
1728 – Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, created the first modern braces in 1728 out of a horseshoe-shaped piece of precious metal and silk threads or waxed linen to hold it in place.
1900s – The word “braces” wasn’t coined until the early 1900’s. At the time, the material of choice was 14k or 18k gold. Some dentists, however, even used wood and ivory.
1938 – Braces were invented well before the first modern synthetic toothbrush came onto the market, which occurred in 1938.
1997 – In 1997, two people with no dental training created Invisalign using 3-D computer technology and clear, plastic retainers. Currently more than 2.5 million patients in over 45 countries are using Invisalign.
Today – Braces aren’t just for kids and teens. The American Association of Orthodontists estimates that more than one million adults in North America are receiving orthodontic treatment.