Today’s Norman orthodontist have more tools and procedure available in teeth-straightening than ever before and that has increased the orthodontia procedure even further. Seeing the continued success of orthodontia work, general dentists are more likely to prescribe orthodontia work and the general public is more likely to consider such procedures.
As far back as the medical writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, there are references to straightening patients’ teeth. Archeologists have dug up remains with bands on people’s teeth, showing that the desire for straight teeth is millenniums old. Dental floss and toothpicks have been found with ancient cavemen. Historians put the start of orthodontics somewhere around 1000 B.C. It wasn’t always a medical professional who handled the orthodontia work. Sometimes the town’s silversmith did the job. Hippocrates and Aristotle both made mention of crooked teeth in their writings.
The French dentist Jacques Lefoulon was the first to use the term “orthodontoise” in his article for his specialized work in the 1830s. Edward Angle, labeled the “Father of Modern Orthodontics,” developed a system to diagnose irregularities in tooth location around 1880. He was also the first one to examine the teeth working as a cohesive unit instead of looking at teeth on a per-tooth basis and examined the performance and function of teeth, not just their appearance.
Two pieces written in the 1880s, Norman W. Kingsley’s “Treatise on Oral Deformities” and J.N. Farrar’s “A Treatise on the Irregularities on the Teeth and Their Corrections” laid the foundation for orthodontic work to come. Kingsley, however, simply removed teeth that did not fit with a person’s’ face, leaving many people in those times gap-toothed – and those extractions were done without Novocaine!
Farrar was the first to recommend putting force on teeth for a short period of time to make changes in the overall structure. In 1899, Angle created a school in St. Louis to teach individuals about orthodontia. He later joined with others practicing orthodontia to create the American Society of Orthodontists. The organization later became known as the American Association of Orthodontists. Much of what is practiced in orthodontia today is credited back to the work that Angle did long ago. His theories and practices are still felt today through the orthodontic process.
By the 1920s, universities throughout the United States were providing studies in orthodontia. Radio graphs in the 1940s allowed better examination of the bone structure and enabled individuals in the field to be able to better predict how future bone structure would impact the patient’s teeth.
As technology boomed in the 1970s and ’80s, orthodontic patients benefited. The process of attaching braces went from a full-day affair to a matter of just a couple of hours. Braces have gone from giving people mouths of tin to being nearly invisible with plastic braces. Braces now come in a variety of colors, including tooth color. Youth can get their bracket wires in their school colors, the color of their favorite professional sports team or simply whatever color mood they are in that day.