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The past and future of braces

In a recent survey conducted by Orthodontics Australia, 60% of Australians would like to do something to fix their smile.

This means that braces are an option for many people with the desire to alter their smile. With such a demand, it is important to educate yourself on the history of orthodontics and what the future may look like for braces.

The desire for straight teeth has always been present.

The desire for straighter teeth can be dated all the way back to ancient Egyptian times. When braces were invented, they were typically reserved for the wealthy.  However, today they are considered a part of routine dental maintenance. Knowing more about how braces have evolved can help to ease some of the anxiety surrounding this dental device and reveal some interesting information.

Brace-like appliances were found on Egyptian mummies.

When archaeologists uncovered Egyptian mummies, they discovered a cord made from catgut wrapped along with the teeth in a similar style to how orthodontists run the wire along with the teeth.

Dental appliances discovered in Greece.

Researchers have discovered dental appliances in Greece that suggest people were practising orthodontics as early as 1000BC. Part of the Etruscan burial ritual was the placement of a device similar to that of a mouthguard. It was believed to preserve the spacing of the teeth and prevent inward collapse so that the deceased could remain attractive in the afterlife. These bridges were made from gold and were generally only found worn by women.

Finger pressure by Celsus.

An ancient roman named Aulus Celsus believed that applying pressure to the teeth at regular intervals with the fingers could slowly shift the teeth into a different position.

When were braces official?

The term “braces” was only coined in the early 1900s. Dentists would individually wrap bands around each tooth and the bands would be connected by wire. However, there were no standards of what material could be used. Gold was preferred because it is flexible when heated; therefore it could be shaped and moulded around the teeth.

The beginning of Invisalign.

In 1997 Zia Chisti and Kelsey Wirth created a method that combined 3D-computer technology with plastic retainers to create the 1st advancement in invisible braces. This became available to the public as Invisalign in 2000.

Where is the future of braces headed?

Orthodontics has come a far way since wrapping wires around the teeth to hold them in position. There are so many options available to patients who require braces and there is more advancement in technology being made each day.

  • Digital X-rays and 3D Dental Imaging: These digital x-rays are now of better quality and allow orthodontists to get a more detailed structure of the mouth. Because they are digital professionals can gain access to the x-rays immediately. 3D imaging systems provide a 360-degree scan of the teeth with less radiation.
  • iTero scanner for digital impressions: This scanner allows orthodontists to digitally scan the patient’s mouth and view the impressions shortly after. This scanner is more accurate and helps to reduce the fitment issues with braces.
  • Nickel and Copper-Titanium Wires: Copper and nickel respond to the heat of the mouth better and so the wires bend more naturally and tighten as the teeth shift.
  • Robotic wire bending technology: This technology helps to bend and attach the brackets and wires to the back of the teeth in the application of lingual braces.
  • Invisalign and clear retainers: A mouth full of metal can be challenging, especially for teens and tweens who are more appearance focused. Invisalign is practically invisible and can be removed for short periods of time for the wearer’s comfort when they eat or drink. With Invisalign, there are no barriers when cleaning and flossing the teeth which ensure the oral hygiene of the wearer is maintained.

Is this new technology accessible to you?

At South East Orthodontics, we provide Suresmile Braces which can be used for lingual and labial braces, they are available in metal module options or clear module options. There are many options available to our patients who are interested in orthodontic treatment.

To book an appointment give us a call on 03 9796 2794.