A Brief History of Orthodontics

Posted on March 8, 2023

Image of smiling patient looking at the dentist

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry. Orthodontics is specialized care that focuses on the position of the teeth and jaw. According to the American Association of Orthodontics, modern orthodontics first emerged as a specialty in 1900. However, there is evidence that this specialty has been around for a lot longer.

Ancient Times

As far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, people have been trying to figure out how to improve the positioning of their teeth. There is evidence that Aristotle and Plato both pondered ideas about teeth straightening. There is also archaeological evidence that “appliances” were used to maintain spacing in teeth during the time of these ancient civilizations.

in a Roman tomb, a dental device was found with written instructions on how to use it to prevent teeth from collapsing and moving out of alignment. Of course, the approach to orthodontics was a bit different in ancient times.

18th Century Dentistry

Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, wrote a book all about how to straighten teeth. He was also one of the first “modern” dentists to use a device to widen an upper palette called a bandeau. Later down the road, in 1754, a dentist named Louis Bordet published a book on how to improve the technique founded by Pierre Fauchard and the bandeau device.

This is the era that really started to push the idea that correcting misalignments and improving positioning was good for the teeth and for confidence. The processes only improved from here.

Modern Orthodontia

By 1901, the American Society of Orthodontia was formed to promote orthodontic care and to set a professional standard. As they say, the rest is history. The specialty took off and has helped millions of people since then to get a smile they are proud of.

Today there is a range of devices that are used to correct positioning. Early pioneers in the field likely could never have imagined how far this specialty has come. Thanks to modern technology and material improvements over the years, orthodontic care is better than ever.

If your general dentist recommends a visit to the orthodontist, or you have some changes you want to make, choose a certified orthodontist. Make an appointment today to start on your treatment path and achieve your smile goals.

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