You ever ask yourself “since when have we been desiring straighter teeth”?
The field of orthodontics has been around for longer than you might think. In fact, since ancient times, mankind has been inventing new devices to improve the position of our teeth and making them straighter.
Most people think that having straight teeth is a modern phenomenon mainly because of the media’s obsession with straight, white teeth. But that is not the case. Many archaeological excavations have shown that dental care was one of the most important factors in the lives of many people throughout time.
In this article, we are going to talk about that history and the different types of tools people invented to achieve the goal of having straight teeth.
Ancient Egypt is one of the earliest civilizations we have traced back to that were using braces.
There have been plenty of archaeological excavations that showed that a lot of mummified individuals wore braces when they were mummified.
The whole practice of mummification was very popular in ancient Egypt. Whenever they mummified someone, they embalmed the body and wrapped them to maintain as much of their natural characteristics as possible. This allowed the archaeologists to identify the braces on a lot of mummies.
It is thought that they used braces to make the high-ranking generals and respected individuals look better to the general public when they passed away.
18th Century France
Back in 1728, Pierre Fauchard who was a French dentist wrote a book about the methods that can be used to straighten teeth. Pierre is considered to be the father of modern dentistry.
He is well known for a device that he used to widen the upper palate. He called it bandeau.
Luis Bourdet who was another dentist from France later published a book of his own and suggested improvements to the bandeau. He is also the first dentist that pulled bicuspids to reduce tooth crowding.
It is incredible to this that our ancestors were doing things that are not so different from what our dentists do today. Sure, we have advanced technologically, but the foundations of dentistry that we follow are the same.
And to think that these foundations were laid down hundreds of years ago is fascinating, to say the least.
You should also consider the fact that hundreds of years ago, people weren’t able to afford to spend money on dental care. So the rich folks of that era took the most advantage of this.
Even now, having straight, white teeth are considered to be a sign of disposable income and high social status.
Ancient Greece and Rome
Ancient Greece was the hotbed of a lot of things, but it is most famous for philosophy. Not many people know that Aristotle and Hippocrates talked about the ideas for straightening teeth dating as back as 400 to 300 BC.
Archaeologists have proof that when the Etruscans buried their folks, they put braces on their teeth to make sure that the spaces between their teeth was maintained and they didn’t collapse when they were buried.
And if that didn’t blow your mind, here’s one more thing for you:
They also found a Roman tomb in which a dental device was found along with instructions on how to use it.
We have advanced incredibly since the days of Aristotle and Hippocrates. Along with that, the field of orthodontics has grown by leaps and bounds. We can now use x-rays and 3D dental imaging to get an idea of the overall structure of a person’s mouth and come up with a plan to straighten their teeth.
And not just that, because these images are digital, orthodontists can now get access to these images instantly and analyze them. There is no waiting period between scanning and analyzing.
Most people are not comfortable with x-rays these days because they know the radiation can build up over time and it is not good for the body. To avoid that, there’s the i-Cat Cone Beam 3D Dental Imaging System which is not just an alternative to an x-ray, it is something way better than that.
i-Cat can now do a 360-degree scan of your mouth and create 3D images of your teeth. Making it easier for you and your orthodontist to visualize what your teeth currently look like and what they will look like after you remove your braces.
Speaking of braces, the time of using thick metal wires to pull teeth together has gone a long time ago. Now with the help of robotic wire-bending technology, the metal strings are so thin that you won’t even notice you are wearing braces. Other people can still see that you are wearing them, but you get used to them very soon.
But, if you don’t want other people to know about it, you can wear Invisalign braces. These are invisible plastic aligners that are easily removed and put back when you need them.
Not just that, you can also remove them when you are eating or when you want to floss.
You’ll just need to get a new set of aligners every 2 weeks to make sure that your teeth are shifting into proper alignment. You have the flexibility to remove these aligners whenever you want, so it does take longer than the metal braces. But it is also worth it for most people because it doesn’t get awkward for them when they are in social situations.
Ceramic braces are meant to blend into your teeth so they are not as visible as metal braces.
This is the best of both worlds – you get to disguise them so they are not as noticeable as metal braces while you get the same speed as metal braces at which you can straighten your teeth.
You will still have some food and drink restrictions just like metal braces. And you will also need to get your wires tightened as your teeth start to shift.
Ceramic braces and Invisalign are the most popular options out there because even adults can get their teeth fixed without having to go through a lot of fuss and awkward discussions.
Most bite and alignment issues can be fixed by using ceramic braces.
As you can see, we have a bunch of alternatives when it comes to braces and getting your teeth straightened. Not to mention, the field of orthodontics has grown so much that we can now analyze whether you have any bite issues, and we can fix that too.
However your lifestyle is right now, you can afford to get straight, white teeth. That’s the best part about modern technology and medicine. It has become affordable for everyone to have the same dental care that the Pharaohs and kings of the ancient civilizations used to have.