The Evolution of Orthodontics

Have you been thinking about orthodontics TX style? A big bright beautiful smile that makes that Texas star shine just a little bit brighter? If you have, you’re in good company. For millennia, a straight smile has been an important asset.

Ancient Practice

According to a special article in an issue of the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, the practice of straightening teeth has been around at least since the time of the ancient Egyptians. The article’s author, Normal Wahl, D.D.S., has over 15 years of research in orthodontics to his credit. His study revealed that the first written records about straightening teeth appeared on the scene approximately 3,000 years ago. There have been Egyptian mummies unearthed whose teeth have crude metal bands around them. Supposedly, cat-gut was used as ligatures to close the gaps. Aren’t you glad we don’t use cat-gut ligatures for orthodontics in Texas today?

Archaeologists and modern orthodontists have been astonished that some ancient orthodontic appliances were so well-designed. These artifacts have been found in both ancient Greek and Etruscan sites. Even during this primitive age, it was known that pressure could be applied to teeth to make them move into a better position.

Hippocrates is cited with providing the initial description of dental irregularities. His writings date back to about 400 BC.Celsus, a Roman writer living around 25 BC to 50 AD, is credited with documenting how to move a tooth. According to Dr. Wahl’s research, Celsus wrote, “If a second tooth should happen to grow in children before the first has fallen out, that which ought to be shed is to be drawn out and the new one daily pushed toward its place by means of the finger until it arrives at its just proportion.”

A practice of filing elongated teeth to get them into alignment was suggested by Pliny the Elder around the time AD 23 – 79. Interestingly, this method was maintained into the 1800s. This may have been the first mechanical treatment for misaligned teeth.

Silence of the Sciences

During the Middle Ages, the sciences went dark. From about the 5th century to the 15th very little occurred in the field of dentistry. Most scientific endeavors suffered a drastic decline during the early Middle Ages. Greek knowledge went by the wayside and the Roman Empire fell. Not until the Scientific Revolution of the 15th and 16th centuries did the scientific study take hold once more.

The discipline of dentistry began to blossom in the 17th century, although orthodontics as a branch of dentistry had not yet been established. Little was written about orthodontics during the Middle Ages.

The Push to Straighten Teeth

Correcting the malocclusion of teeth was called ‘regulating’ back in the 1700s. It’s interesting to know that orthodontics in Texas today is related all the way back to a Parisian of the 18th century. Pierre Fauchard acquired the status of being the “Father of Orthodontia” partially due to his publication of a 2 volume work on dentistry. It was The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. In it he described the expansion arch – a curved appliance to which the teeth were ligated. The principles of this device are still used in some of today’s orthodontic appliances.

Once the scientific method took hold, many fields of scientific study began to grow and practical application resulted. Notably, John Hunter, an Englishman who was a surgeon and anatomist, advanced dentistry to a great degree by studying and writing about human dentition in his book The Natural History of the Human Teeth. This was the first book to express clear orthopedic principles.

From Mummies in Egypt to Orthodontics in Texas

Presumably, even the ancient Egyptians were concerned with having straight smiles. Fortunately, we now have material, techniques and technology that can make straightening teeth easy, fast, and in some instances, virtually invisible. Over the centuries the field of orthodontics has increasingly improved so that straight smiles can be achieved comfortably and affordably.

Cypress Smiles Dental provides you with the opportunity to sit down with us and discuss a treatment plan to correct your misaligned teeth. Having your teeth straightened by one of our methods of orthodontics in TX will help you achieve the smile of your dreams. If an ancient Egyptian went to great lengths to have a beautiful smile, don’t you think you deserve one, too? Make an appointment today for your consultation.

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