Most kids and adults are conditioned to think of discomfort and tightness when it comes to braces. There is so much history and interesting facts surrounding the orthodontic profession beyond the classic metal mouth images that are conjured up when we first think of braces . Most of the information you receive from your orthodontist is about how braces will benefit you and how to take care of them. Here I want to share some interesting and fun facts that go beyond the function of braces.
Orthodontics is the first recognized specialty in dentistry. Edward H. Angle, the founding father, was the first to limit his practice to aligning patients’ teeth and jaws in 1900. He also established the American Association of Orthodontics which only allows orthodontists to become members. An orthodontist is a dentist first, then completes an additional 2-3years of residency to become a specialist.
The metal used in wires were invented by NASA. How cool is that? You can have space metal in your mouth. This wire is made up of nickel titanium and when inserted into the braces, it is heat activated and wants to return to its original horseshoe shape. When inserted into the braces of crooked teeth, it weaves in and around the rotated teeth. Then the heat of your mouth allows the wire to remember its original horseshoe shape and that causes the teeth the wire is tied into to straighten out.
Braces-like appliances were found to exist as far back as ancient Egypt! Mummies were found with cord made from cat gut attached to their teeth.This was over 3,000 years ago. Thankfully we are way more advanced now.
The bone holding your teeth remodels as your teeth move.The side the teeth are moving forward into, the bone in front of the tooth will resorb.This allows space for the tooth to move ahead. As the tooth continues to move forward, the back side of the tooth creates bone behind the tooth to fill in the gap that forms as the tooth moves forward.
Gold was the metal of choice around the 1900’s to fabricate braces with.It was an ideal choice as it was easy to shape.You still can get gold today but most people go for the silver metal braces that you can place color ties on, or the clear braces that blend in with the natural color of your teeth.