Orthodontics is the field of dentistry that deals with irregularities of the teeth and jaws. The term ‘orthodontics’ comes from Greek words — orthos
(meaning straight or correct) and odont
(meaning teeth). It involves the diagnosis and correction of crooked or misaligned teeth
and irregular bite patterns. Orthodontists have undergone extra years of special training after completion of their regular dental course. Thus, while all orthodontists are dentists, only 5-6% of dentists are orthodontists.
Here are 5 key facts about orthodontics:
Crooked teeth have been around for ages
The presence of crooked teeth
has been found in Neanderthals. Archaeologists have also found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around their teeth, indicating having undergone some sort of teeth correction treatment. There is also mention of teeth ‘irregularities’ in the writings of Hippocrates around 400 BC.
The first official braces came in 1728
In 1978, Pierre Fauchard, also known as the Father of Dentistry, wrote about the first orthodontic appliance in his book The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth
. He mentioned a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal or the bandeau
, which was tied to the teeth with a thread. Later, in the early 1900s, Edward H Angle, the first orthodontist specializing in teeth-straightening and realigning jaws, introduced modern orthodontic appliances like brackets for effective movement of teeth and jaws.
Braces were made of gold
In the 1900s, gold was the chosen metal for manufacturing braces. Its malleable nature made gold easily stretchable, and it could be shaped into an orthodontic appliance. In addition, patients wearing the braces had to regularly visit the orthodontists for adjustments. Thus, the treatment turned out to be an expensive affair. Cheaper, stronger, and more flexible wire alloys were introduced later to make them easily accessible by the masses.
Pressure, time, and teeth movement are co-related
Orthodontic treatment is based on the science of gradual pressure on the teeth to move them slowly and gently to a position that gives the jaws an ideal shape. The pressure has to be measured and monitored to avoid its harmful effects that could lead to adverse situations.
The importance of wearing retainers
Wearing braces, clear aligners
, or other orthodontic appliances is important to treat malocclusion
and move your teeth to the desired position. Similarly, retainers are equally vital to hold the shifted teeth in their new position and prevent them from shifting back. They are custom-made and make a major impact in retaining the beautiful smile that was achieved with the orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is the key to a great smile. If you are planning to realign your crooked teeth, fix malocclusion, or other bite issues, then going to your regular might not be enough. The ideal solution would be to visit an orthodontist for a complete evaluation, followed by treatment.