The desire for a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing smile is not a 21st century phenomena. Archaeologists have discovered mummified remains with crude metal bands wrapped around each tooth, connected by catgut stretched tight to pull teeth together. In the 1700’s a horseshoe-shaped metal piece, called a “Bandeau”, was designed to help expand the arch; but it was not until 1819 that the “wire crib” was invented, which was the beginning of modern day orthodontics.
The evolution continued through the 1900’s when orthodontists used various precious medals (gold, platinum, and silver), as well as ivory, zinc, copper, and brass, even wood, to form braces. The wires through the braces were typically made of gold since it was so easy to shape (though expensive!). Stainless steel became accepted as a material for orthodontic treatment in the late 1950’s, early 60’s. Still the braces were individually wrapped around each tooth until the 1970’s when orthodontists made direct bonding achievable. Around this time, self-ligating brackets also appeared on the scene, which are brackets held on by a “trap door” built into each bracket.
In the late 70’s a version of the “invisible braces” became trendy: lingual braces. These braces were bonded onto the inside surface of the teeth so no one could see them. They were the more esthetically pleasing choice of braces until the early 1980’s when a combination of ceramic and metal (tooth coloured) brackets became popular. The idea of invisible braces evolved in the late 90’s when two Stanford University MBA graduate students designed Invisalign. Invisalign requires no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten, just a series of custom-made aligner trays worn 22 hours a day, changed every 2 weeks.
As technology enhances our lives, it continues to positively impact the field of Orthodontics, making materials that are more comfortable, and results that are more accurate, with shorter treatment times. If you are considering orthodontic treatment, schedule a consultation with Maduke-Bulat in Surrey, BC. Our team of Orthodontists will discuss the variety of options available to you, from traditional braces to Invisalign.