The Story of Braces: How They Came To Be What They Are Today

Do you know the history of braces

Braces have been a part of orthodontic treatment for centuries, with their evolution tracing back to ancient times. While the idea of straightening teeth may seem modern, the history of braces goes back thousands of years. From ancient Egypt to today, the use of various materials to align teeth has undergone significant changes. And though some of the approaches to braces all those years ago might seem questionable, one common theme remains; the power of the smile and the need for straighter teeth are well understood.

Some fun facts about the history of braces. 

If your child is about to get braces or recently got braces, they might find it interesting to understand some fun facts about how we got to where we are today. Plus, they should know they are not alone in getting braces. Over four million people in the U.S. wear braces. And while most people who get braces are kids and teens, approximately 25% of those with braces are adults (so mom and dad, you might find these facts interesting, too).

So let’s step into the time machine and travel back to ancient times. We’ll explore how our ancestors dealt with crooked teeth, and discover some of the earliest known attempts at orthodontic treatment. First stop—ancient Egypt! You might be surprised that braces were even found on mummies from thousands of years ago. But that’s not all—the Ancient Romans also made their own attempts at straightening teeth among the living. Let’s take a closer look at these fascinating stories from the past.

  • Braces were found on mummies from ancient Egypt, made from materials like animal intestines and plant fibers.
  • The Ancient Romans were the first to attempt to straighten teeth among the living, using finger pressure to push teeth into place.
  • Roman philosopher and physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus even wrote about his attempts at correcting tooth irregularities using appliances made from gold wire.
  • Despite these early attempts, orthodontics didn’t become a recognized dental specialty until the 20th century.

So yes! A beautiful smile was important even way back when!

Modern braces were introduced back in 1819.

Believe it or not, braces, as we know them today, have been around since the early 19th century! That’s long before today’s great-grandparents were even born. In 1819, a French dentist named Christophe-Francois Delabarre invented modern braces made of a flat metal strip connected to the teeth by a thread. But it wasn’t until the 20th century that braces became a typical orthodontic treatment, thanks to the father of orthodontics himself, Dr. Edward Angle.

Dr. Angle developed the first classification system for tooth irregularities and established the principles of modern orthodontics. He also invented the first brackets and wires, made of gold and much more effective than Delabarre’s original design.

Since then, braces continue to develop and improve. In the mid-20th century, stainless steel braces were introduced, which were more durable and practical than their gold predecessors. The 1970s brought the invention of lingual braces which are attached to the back of the teeth and less visible than traditional braces.

In recent years, braces have become even more advanced with the introduction of clear ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, and Invisalign aligners. With all of these options, orthodontic treatment is more accessible and comfortable than ever before.

So, while braces may have started out as a simple metal strip connected by thread, they have come a long way in the past 200 years. And who knows? With all the advancements in technology, we may see even more exciting developments in the future of orthodontics!

Have you mastered the history of braces? Take this quiz and find out.

So, let’s see if you can answer some questions about the history of braces, and what you can expect from modern braces.

  1. Who invented modern braces?
  2. How did Ancient Egyptians straighten their teeth?
  3. What did the Ancient Romans use to straighten teeth?
  4. What is the father of orthodontics known for?
  5. What are some modern types of braces?
  6. Do braces rust?
  7. Do braces interfere with radio signals?

Answer key:

  1. Answer: Christophe-Francois Delabarre, a French dentist, invented modern braces in 1819.
  2. Answer: Ancient Egyptians used metal bands around their teeth with a string attached and tightened over time to straighten their teeth.
  3. Answer: Ancient Romans used their fingers to push teeth into place.
  4. Answer: Dr. Edward Angle is known for developing the first classification system for tooth irregularities and inventing the first brackets and wires made of gold.
  5. Answer: Some modern braces include clear ceramic braces, self-ligating braces, and Invisalign aligners.
  6. Answer: Nope! This is a common myth about braces. Stainless steel and titanium are the most commonly used materials for braces due to their corrosion-resistant properties. These metals are well-suited for dental work since they do not rust or deteriorate easily.
  7. Answer: No, this is one of those myths about braces that need to be debunked. The urban legend of braces being able to pick up radio signals is entirely false. The metal used to create braces cannot intercept or interfere with radio signals, making this urban legend impossible.

Let’s talk braces at your child’s next appointment with Must Love Kids.

Your Vancouver pediatric dentistry team loves discussing the history of orthodontics and braces for kids. After all, we want your child to have a beautiful smile as much as you do. So, if your child has crooked teeth and you think they need braces, request an appointment today. We’ll look at your child’s teeth and tell you the best course of action to give them the best smile possible. We look forward to hearing from you.