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Braces Have Changed A Lot Since Their Invention: Read On For More Details

Remember how your friend from college with prominent braces looks unrecognizable without them several years later? All of you have worn braces at some point in time or have been around those who have. 

People across the world undergo elaborate procedures like professional teeth whitening to take care of their teeth. While most of these techniques have come into existence and widespread practice only in the last few decades, braces date back centuries! If you are curious to learn more about how braces have evolved from prehistoric times until today, read this article to find out and check out this Dentist in concord to get your own!

The Evolution of Braces

Ancient Times: Greece and Rome 

Sources reveal that the ancient Greek philosophers Aristotle and Hippocrates had planned methods for straightening people's teeth using braces and other means, around 400-300 BC. Meanwhile, in The Etruscans (or modern-day Italy), people followed another technique. They buried the dead with external appliances between the teeth to prevent the collapse of the teeth and the jaws.
Archaeologists have recovered mummified bodies with evidence of metal bands wrapped around their teeth as well. In a Roman tomb, they discovered the remains of a gold wire bound around the teeth, along with documentation to prove that people used this wire as a dental device. 

The 18th Century: France 

It was in the 1700s that the practice of orthodontics began to take shape, with more people practicing this area of science. The French dentist Pierre Fauchard is commonly recognized as the father of modern dentistry. He was the pioneer of dental prosthesis, and he discovered various methods to replace lost teeth with alternative materials. 
In 1728, Pierre published a book, Le Chirurgien Dentiste (roughly translates to "The Surgical Dentist"), describing various methods to straighten the teeth. In the book, he suggested that braces can be used as corrective devices for teeth and that it is easier to move around children's teeth than adults.
Louis Bourdet, another French dentist, published a book in 1854, "The Dentist's Art," that discussed tooth alignment. He also worked on reducing teeth crowding by becoming the first person to extract the premolar teeth. In 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre invented the first set of modern teeth braces.

The 19th Century: Further Developments 

Delabarre's invention marked a turning point in dental sciences: the beginning of modern orthodontics. In 1843, Dr. Edward Maynard used elastics in the treatment to improve the alignment of jaws, similar to the ones which people use today. During this period, dentists employed other materials like gold, silver, vulcanite, and occasionally ivory, and zinc in dental processes. 
In 1858, Norman W. Kingsley published the first formal paper on modern orthodontics in the New York Dental Journal. In 1880, he published his book, "A Treatise on Oral Deformities as a Branch of Mechanical Surgery," the first comprehensive book to discuss orthodontic treatments. 
The other significant contribution to the study of teeth movement came from the American dentist John Nutting Farrar. His works, published in Dental Cosmos towards the end of the 19th century, contain detailed diagrams regarding tooth movements that support his theory of using force at regular intervals to straighten teeth. He is also credited with regulating 18k gold for usage in dental devices. 

The 20th Century: Material Replacements 

Dentist Edward Angle, in 1901, formalized the first classification system for malocclusions or misaligned teeth, including abnormalities in teeth and jaws, dental devices used for treatment, and surgical procedures. Angle also emphasized aesthetics in orthodontics. 
As more developments continued to crop up, scientists and dentists devised new materials to replace the expensive 18k gold used up to that point. From the patients' point of view, they demanded that braces should no longer be as uncomfortable and painful as they were up to that point. 
As a result, in the 1960s, dentists across the globe replaced gold with stainless steel, making braces much cheaper and more practical. This high-grade stainless steel and other materials used in the 20th century made braces smaller, more comfortable, and more productive. 
In the 1970s, people realized you could secure the braces to the back of the teeth rather than the front, thereby hiding them. In the 1980s, dentists developed "invisible braces" - devices made using single-crystal sapphire and ceramics that take the color of teeth. 
In the early 2000s, NASA used heat-activated nickel-titanium alloy wires to replace stainless steel. The advantage of this material is that they warm to body temperature, making them flexible enough to move the teeth in the right direction. These wires also needed less maintenance compared to gold or steel. 

Present Day and the Future 

In any sector, today's developments involve a considerable amount of software aids, and the same goes for dentistry and braces. 3D printing is one of the most popular manufacturing techniques that has come up in recent times, giving the flexibility to choose intricate designs made with exotic materials. 3D printing also increases the speed of building these appliances, thereby providing more profits to manufacturers. 
Dentists and technicians also use computerized analysis to help design the braces better, customized to your conditions and likes. There is no doubt that dental appliances and technology have undergone a sea change in the last few decades, and further innovations in the future have limitless possibilities. 
Even if not directly related to manufacturing, technology can help connect dentists and patients better. With the advent of teleconsultation and virtual interactions with doctors, you can soon see patients treating themselves at home with remote help from dentists. Dentists no longer need you to be physically present to create a mold of your teeth with a cast but can replicate your teeth and jaw alignment using just a digital photograph. 
See-through materials, more accurate diagnostics, cheaper processes, and overall enhanced experience for the patients have been made possible only with the tireless efforts of engineers and dentists throughout these years. 

Let's Put a Smile on That Face!

Although this line said by the Joker in The Dark Knight quite chilling, the truth is that smiling enhances your appearance. If you are worried that your braces get in the way, you can consult a dentist by sending pictures of your teeth to get some treatment to straighten your teeth. 
Modern technology allows you to opt for invisible braces for tooth. Now, nothing is stopping you from showing those pearly whites while your teeth transform!

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