Braces for Teeth from 1910 to Today

You might think that the use of braces for teeth is a modern innovation. While it is true that the first systems were not designed until 1910, Hippocrates and Aristotle discussed them thousands of years ago. Here’s a little about the history of orthodontics, how the dental appliances work and the types available today.

Several men contributed to the field as it currently exists. Norman Kingsley founded the New York State Dental Society in 1868 and wrote about oral deformities that might be correctable with a brace or other appliance.

J N Farrar is credited for designing the first brace appliances. He was also the first to suggest that mild force could be used at timed intervals to realign the front teeth.

The first orthodontics school in the US opened in 1910. It was founded by Edward Angle, who is often thought of as the “father” of modern orthodontics. He designed a ribbon arch and an edgewise appliance that are the forerunners of the modern systems.

The devices work by moving the teeth through the use of force as suggested by Farrar. The arch wire pushes each tooth in a specific direction.

The wires and brackets of braces for teeth must be adjusted by an orthodontics provider in order to ensure that they are not too tight or too loose. Too tight causes pain. A brace that is too loose will take longer to work, if it is effective at all.

With the proper adjustments, a tooth will usually move about one millimeter per month. Readjustments at follow-up visits may be necessary to continue the progress. The total length of time necessary to align a tooth depends on the severity of the misalignment. It can take as little as six months or as long as six years.

At one time, only stainless steel metal braces were available. They are still the most common choice, because they work faster than other materials.

Plastic trays such as those provided by the Invisalign Company are less expensive per set, but they must be replaced often. They might look nicer but they take longer to work.

Another cosmetically pleasing alternative is to use a bracket made of ceramic or plastic that blends in with the color of the tooth. The brackets are attached to the stainless steel arches. So, they look nice and work fast too.

Now you know a little more about braces for teeth straightening. Consult your orthodontist for more information.