Tracing The History of Dental Braces

There used to be a time when the very mention of ‘dental braces’ drew chagrin equally from adults and adolescents. Simply imagining that one would’ve to have to wear those bizarre looking braces in order to straighten teeth would instill fear in the individual. As an aesthetic dental clinic in Singapore, we are conversant of the fact that orthodontists nowadays recommend putting on braces (for straightening misaligned teeth) as a dire necessity for allaying/preventing dental issues in the future.

Misaligned or skewed teeth setting can erode an individual’s confidence and the person may feel embarrassed even to smile or laugh out with any inhibitions. Hence, the need to go for braces extends much beyond bringing about a cosmetic change in appearance. Human beings preoccupation with teeth straightening so as to wear a radiant smile dates back to almost 1000 B.C. when Etruscans-precursors of Romans-in Italy implanted dental bridges made of gold in the deceased.

Looking Good In The Afterlife

Etruscans wanted their forefathers to look good in their afterlives. The father of medical sciences, Hippocrates, and the renowned Greek philosopher, Aristotle circa 400-300 B.C., conjectured on techniques to deal with various dental conditions and find ways to correct crooked or misaligned teeth. The best dentists in Singapore should be cognizant that dental bridges or braces have come a long way since then and evolved so much that these days one can put on brackets that look invisible. One such solution is called Invisalign and can be found at our clinic which is a dedicated Invisalign Singapore dental clinic.

The Earliest Known Use(s) of Braces

Though the modern version of clear braces developed only in the early 1800s, the crudest form of bracket or support for the teeth was discovered by Egyptologists and archaeologists in mummified remains. Archaeologists after observing the mummies in detail alleged that Egyptians used wires framed out of catgut for strapping to teeth in order to cover gaps. Evidence of the use of braces has also been found in the ruins and relics unearthed in Italy and Greece.

Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman physician and philosopher devoted his entire life to discover ways to shift teeth or straighten these. The concept of putting on orthodontic braces started gaining ground in the latter half of the 18th century when reports and writings appeared in medical compendiums and books. Dentists note that the term “braces” was first used officially in the early 20th century.

The earliest braces in the forms of clasps, wires, spurs, and bands were mostly made of ivory, zinc, copper, and wood. Gold was also favored by numerous dentists as the precious metal could be easily molded into wires or bands for suturing around teeth. However, its use was limited as only the rich could afford it.

The Evolution in Application Techniques

The techniques to hold braces in their places almost remain unchanged till the late seventies of the 20th cent till the emergence of an adhesive that’d keep the brackets in their places. Stainless steel started to gain popularity as an effective material for making wires because it was affordable, flexible, and manageable. However, it was only in the late 1990s, that a model of clear braces which would be almost invisible came about.

Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth, Stanford grads are credited with developing the first clear or invisible braces known as ‘Invisalign‘ which could be a combined abbreviation of the terms ‘invisible’ and ‘alignment’. In the future, we could see individuals not having to undertake multiple visits to the orthodontist as an alloy of nickel and titanium could be molded into extremely thin wires for orthodontic treatments.