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It’s no secret that some people have crooked teeth, and although natural, it can quickly become a hindrance to self-confidence. The good news is that innovations in the field of orthodontics can make this possible. Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with straightening teeth.

The idea of achieving your perfect smile through orthodontics may seem like a modern-day innovation, but the reality is that it goes way, way back during ancient times. Orthodontics has its roots in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece, dating back to 1600 BC. What’s even more fascinating is that many ancient orthodontic tools were found in those places, which just supports the claim.

This article details some fun facts about the history of orthodontics. Read on below to know more about them.

Even Mummies Used Braces

Archaeologists have found evidence that the ancient Egyptians used crude metal bands for their teeth, just as we do today with metal wires. They believe that these metal bands were used with catgut (tough cords made from animal intestines) to put just enough pressure to move the teeth.

Hippocrates Wrote the First Documentation of Dental Problems

In 400 BC, Hippocrates, a famous Greek physician and father of medicine, wrote the first known description of tooth irregularities.

He even spoke of possible treatment options, saying, “If the teeth are diverted or displaced, it is necessary to unite them with a thread of gold.” From the looks of it, people were already trying to achieve dental perfection around this time.

Romans and Etruscans Used Dental Devices Too

Just like Egyptians, Romans and Etruscans used braces-like dental devices too. It’s even more crucial for the Etruscans because they want to preserve their perfect smiles in the afterlife.

This is evidenced by various archaeological findings that saw their dead wearing orthodontic devices to maintain the position of their teeth. In addition, ancient dental instruments were also found in Roman tombs, along with instructions on how to use them.

Modern-Day Orthodontics Started in France

In the 18th century, orthodontics underwent significant changes. In France, Pierre Fauchard revolutionized the field when he created the “bandeau” in 1728. It’s a horseshoe-shaped strip of metal that had holes fit over the wearer’s teeth to correct the alignment. Because of this, he got the title of “The Father of Modern Dentistry.”

A few decades later, another dentist named Louis Bourdet (who was also a dentist to two kings of France, Louis XV and Louis XVI) expanded on Fauchard’s innovations. He was also the one who discovered that removing wisdom teeth can combat tooth overcrowding.

The First Modern Braces Were Made in 1819

There were already orthodontic devices in ancient times, but another French dentist named Christophe-Francois Delabarre was the one who set the blueprint for the modern braces. His device used a wire crib placed around the teeth in pairs to keep them in the proper position.

Elastics Were Introduced in 1843

Dr. Edward Maynard, an American dentist and firearms inventor, used elastics to help with jaw alignment. Jaw alignment is crucial to correct overbites apart from crooked teeth, and Dr. Maynard’s discovery is still widely used today.

Dr. Edward Angle Developed the Classification System for Malocclusion

The term “malocclusion” was first coined by Dr. Edward Angle, who’s also known as the “Father of Modern Orthodontics.” It refers to the misalignment of the upper and lower jaws. Later on, Dr. Angle founded the organization known today as the American Association of Orthodontists.

The First Adhered Brackets Were Used in the 1970s

The term “braces” in the context of orthodontics became widely used in the 1900s. Before the 70s, dentists attached brace brackets to patients’ teeth by winding wires around them.

When dental adhesives were introduced, it allowed dentists to secure the brackets directly to the teeth themselves. Conversely, stainless steel became the ideal material for this practice instead of Hippocrates’ proposed gold, obviously expensive.


Orthodontics, like any other field of study, has a rich history that we can learn from. If not for the ancient and modern practitioners expanding on their ideas, then we’re probably still dealing with crooked teeth without a permanent solution today. Learning about a little bit of history is fun, but it’s essential to deal with dental issues as soon as they become apparent.

Dental House MI can help you get that perfect smile with the help of our dentists in Ann Arbor. We also offer restorative, preventive, and cosmetic dentistry for patients who require such treatments. Contact us today for a consultation!

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