Understanding Orthodontics: A Brief History of Braces!

For centuries, people worldwide have wanted straight, beautiful smiles. While historically there have been many ways that people have tried to correct their teeth, it’s unsurprising that strapping metal braces to teeth wasn’t the first option. Dr. Priti Naik DDS and our staff here have an in depth knowledge on dental history and modern braces, from early orthodontic devices to modern dentistry techniques like Invisalign and specialized metal braces.

The Early History of Orthodontics


Modern braces are a relatively new invention, but dentists and inventors were seeking a way to correct crooked teeth as early as the 18th century. One of these men was Pierre Fauchard. As the author of the book The Surgeon Dentist, Fauchard is acknowledged as the “Father of Modern Dentistry.”

He created a device known as the “bandeau.” This retainer-like apparatus was shaped like a horseshoe, and it helped expand the dental arch, preventing teeth from getting crowded. While it was effective, it was uncomfortable and expensive because it was made from precious metals.

In the 19th century, innovation continued. This is when the term “orthodontia” was first coined by a dentist named Joachim Lafoulon.

During this time period, the idea of shifting crooked teeth by using applied-force intervals was put forth by a dentist named J. N. Farrar, and the first use of elastics and metal “braces” was recorded.

Metal Braces Are Perfected


Modern braces were first conceptualized in the early 1900s. During this time, mechanisms similar to modern braces were created from pliable precious metals, like gold and iridium, and elastic formed from gum rubber. Gold was used for brackets because it was malleable, but this meant early braces were costly and reserved for the upper class.

However, the 1970s revolutionized braces as we know them. Dental bonding technology allowed for inexpensive, pliable stainless steel brackets in place of precious materials, dramatically increasing the braces’ effectiveness (and reducing the cost).

Since the 1970s, metal braces have become the single most common orthodontic treatment. But the history of braces doesn’t end here!

Innovation Continues With Clear Braces and Invisalign!

Present day:

Today, specialized braces like lingual braces and tooth-colored ceramic braces are available to orthodontic patients. Advancements in clear braces technology have led to the development of aligner systems like Invisalign, as well.

Invisalign and other similar devices use specialized plastic trays to shift teeth gradually, requiring no semi-permanent metal bracket installation and providing a more aesthetically pleasing look during treatment.

There are more options than ever, and as the art of orthodontia continues to advance, we’re sure to see even more innovation.

Visit Priti Naik, DDS for Vienna, Tysons Corner and McLean Family Dentistry!

At the office of Priti Naik, DDS, we can transform your smile with orthodontia. With a focus on modern techniques, flexible treatment choices, and a results-oriented approach, Dr. Naik can ensure that you get the right treatment option for your needs.

At our family dentistry practice, we pride ourselves on making our patients feel like part of our family and always strive to make you feel that you are a top priority. Call us for an appointment today at (703)288-1800, schedule online, or come to our office at 8230 Boone Blvd #320

Vienna, VA, 22182!

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Email: pritinaikdds@gmail.com

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