Dental braces have come a long way from their early beginnings. If you think braces are painful and bulky today, let’s jump back to their first days and see what braces used to be like.

The first instances of dental braces were discovered by archaeologists when mummified bodies were found to have small pieces of metal around their teeth, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. Even people thousands of years ago wanted straight teeth and a beautiful smile. This was mostly for aesthetic reasons as science was not developed enough to have discovered the health benefits of dental braces.

It wasn’t until the 1700s that we saw serious advances in dentistry and the advancements of dental braces. French authors including Pierre Fauchard, published a book called “The Surgeon Dentist” around this time. Orthodontics also saw advances but not until much later in the mid 1800s. J.J. Guildford is credited with publishing the first orthodontics text book in the 1800s. At the time, these were major breakthroughs since technology was not nearly as advanced as it is today.

The first dental braces were simply created by using mild force consistently over a period of time to move teeth to make them straighter. However, dental braces were made much more differently. Braces used to be made of a variety of materials such as gold, platinum, silver, steel and rubber. These materials were used to form the wires, hooks and bands that form braces. Depending on availability, even wood, ivory, zinc, copper and brass were used. Gold and silver were most commonly preferred by royalty, since they were a symbol of status, wealth and luxury. Though very expensive even in those times, gold was used because it was one of the softer metals making it flexible and easy to shape. Though this was a great advantage, it also had a downfall–the braces had to be adjust more frequently becauase the metal was so soft.

Major breakthroughs in braces have taken place more recently. For example, x-rays weren’t used regularly until the 1950s to determine if braces were required or not. Also, the adhesive that holds the braces to the teeth wasn’t developed until the 1970s. Before this adhesive was invented, braces were designed to wrap around your teeth completely like a full metal band to keep them in place on your teeth.

Braces continue to evolve and today we have alternatives to braces such as Invisalign. With Invisalign, your teeth move using a clear, plastic ‘retainer’ that is removable, rather than requiring metal braces. This provides for greater flexibility and convenience. Clear braces are also available as a more aesthetic alternative to traditional orthodontic braces. Another option is gold braces for those who are allergic to nickel, which is a common ingredient found in traditional metal braces. You can also get dental braces that are placed on the back side of your teeth so they’re not visible at all–these are known as lingual braces.

If you need more information on braces or retainers, give us a call at (847) 749-4340 and our customer-friendly staff will be happy to assist you with any questions you might have. Our diverse staff can communicate with you in English, Spanish, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, Urdu and Hindi — and we also don’t take long to answer your phone calls.

To find out more about the types of braces we offer (metal braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces and Invisalign), feel free to look us up on Facebook or just visit our website. A complimentary consultation awaits anyone who is under the age of nineteen at our Arlington Heights, Harwood Heights, Chicago (Pilsen), Rockford and Burbank locations.