With the evolution of braces, an uncomfortable and unsightly ordeal transformed into a pain-free, almost invisible one. Believe it or not, the first recorded use of braces dates back to 1728!
We all know braces can help people get straighter teeth, improving their smile. But with the evolution of braces from traditional to nearly invisible, it’s never been easier to get the smile of your dreams.
Today, we’re going to explore the braces evolution by answering questions like:
- When was braces invented?
- When were braces first used?
- What’s the history of braces through the years?
- Who wore the first braces?
Keep reading to learn more about the evolution of orthodontics.
Early Teeth Treatments Before the First Braces
Did you know early humans attempted to correct teeth alignment issues? Archaeologists found mummies with metal bands wrapped around their teeth. They think the bands were probably used to close gaps in the teeth.
Beauty and health concerns have been around for centuries!
When Was Braces Invented?
When were braces first used? Would you believe we can actually trace the evolution of braces back centuries, not decades?
The first braces were used in 1728 by French physician Pierre Fauchard. He’s often called the “Father of Modern Dentistry” because of his contributions to the evolution of orthodontics.
Fauchard used a metal strip (called a “bandeau”) to expand the molars, help close gaps in the teeth, and straighten them out. This method effectively sped up the straightening process, but it was pretty painful! Many patients said “No thanks” to braces because of the discomfort.
However, Fauchard’s work was a major step forward in the evolution of braces. But his device was quite large and bulky, and he couldn’t figure out how to make braces less painful. So, braces weren’t very popular back then.
It wasn’t until 1850 that another major development in braces happened…
The Invention of the Rubber Band
When you think about traditional braces, you probably picture metal brackets and wires held in place by rubber bands. Edward Maynard was the first person to use this design in 1843.
Maynard created the first “rubber band” out of gum elastics. His rubber band was a breakthrough because it created a more comfortable and less painful way to straighten teeth.
But the first recorded use of actual rubber bands for braces was in 1850 by E.J Tucker. He built on the original gum design but used rubber, which helped close gaps in patients’ teeth much faster. With the rubber bands, patients experienced less pain, too, because the bands gently pulled teeth into the correct position over time.
This gentler, more effective method quickly gained popularity and became the standard for braces over the next few decades.
The Evolution of Braces
Braces through the years remained relatively the same for over a century and a half, but there have been some major advancements in the materials used. For its next evolution, orthodontics turned to metal.
In 1908, Edward H. Angle – considered the “Father of Modern Orthodontics” – developed the first metal bracket. The metal bracket made the process of straightening teeth even more comfortable and effective while also being less painful. This method quickly became the new standard for braces.
The Bracket Evolution in Orthodontics
Like braces themselves, brackets have undergone a major evolution. As more and more people wanted straighter teeth, major orthodontic innovations happened.
Angle’s metal brackets were made from gold and silver. These materials were effective but expensive, meaning many patients couldn’t afford braces.
The braces evolution continued in the 1960s when stainless steel became the new material for brackets. Stainless steel was more affordable than precious metals, making braces more accessible to a wider range of patients.
Today’s brackets are made from a variety of materials, including stainless steel, ceramic, and even plastic. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, cosmetically and physically, so trust your orthodontist to recommend the best option for you.
Improving the Treatment Time of Braces
Depending on the case, braces can take anywhere from 6 months to over 2 years to straighten teeth. Factors influencing treatment time include age, biology, appliance type, compliance, and severity.
Today, there’s been a new braces evolution with the introduction of Lightforce custom braces. Since most people want the fastest way to get straight teeth, we often recommend Lightforce.
Lightforce uses 3D technology to create fully custom brackets without impressions. Traditional braces use standard brackets, some fitting one tooth better than another. With Lightforce, each bracket is uniquely made to fit each tooth, from the slot where the wire is threaded to the base where it bonds to your teeth.
This individualized patient prescription produces better results faster.
Invisalign: The Clear Alternative to Braces
In recent years, braces have evolved even further, and a new alternative to traditional braces arrived: Invisalign.
Invisalign is a clear aligner that’s virtually invisible when worn. It’s made of a comfortable, smooth plastic custom-fit to your teeth.
Orthodontists take an impression or 3D scan of your teeth to create your unique aligners. The aligners are then worn for about 22 hours per day, and a new set is used weekly. Over time, your teeth gradually shift into the correct position.
Invisalign is a popular alternative for patients who want to straighten their teeth without wearing traditional braces and is a patient favorite when it comes to the braces evolution. In contrast to braces, Invisalign is more comfortable to wear and can be removed when you eat and brush your teeth.
Discover Your Place In the Braces Story With Bates Orthodontics
The evolution of braces has seen everything from metal brackets to invisible trays, and orthodontists continue to advance braces in new and innovative ways. As a result, modern braces are more comfortable and effective than ever!
At Bates Orthodontics, we’re proud to be part of the braces story. We offer various teeth straightening options to help you achieve your dream smile. From traditional braces to Invisalign and now even 3D-printed brackets, we have a treatment type for you.
Schedule a free consultation today and discover your place in the braces story.