5 Facts About Orthodontics
Orthodontics has Greek Origins
While the practice of orthodontics was actually started by a Frenchman, the word ‘orthodontics’ comes from Greece. ‘Ortho’ means to straighten or correct, while ‘odont’ comes from the Greek word odous, which means tooth.
The First of Its Kind
Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist, wrote about an orthodontic appliance in his 1728 book on dentistry, The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. The bandeau was a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal that was tied to the teeth to help align them. Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then!
The Midas touch
Today, orthodontic appliances can be made from different materials including metal, plastic and even ceramics. But at the start of the 1900s gold was often used as it is malleable – allowing it to be stretched and adjusted. Consequently, patients had to see their orthodontist regularly for adjustments and orthodontic treatment was reserved for the wealthy. The use of cheaper, stronger and more flexible wire alloys later in the 20th Century made orthodontic treatment more accessible to the masses.
Crooked Teeth are Nothing New
We already mentioned that many Neanderthals had evidence of crooked teeth, but did you know that archaeologists have found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around their teeth? Even Hippocrates was writing about ‘irregularities’ of teeth around 400 BC.
Orthodontics Is a Dental Specialty
The first-ever orthodontist – that is, a qualified dentist who limited their practice to moving teeth and aligning jaws – was Edward H. Angle, an American who is often thought of as the father of modern orthodontics. He went on to found the American Society of Orthodontists and taught in the field in the United States.
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