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History of Orthodontics

Even ancient people wanted straight teeth!

Even ancient people wanted straight teeth! According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists), archaeologists have discovered mummified ancients with crude metal bands wrapped around individual teeth. To close gaps, it has been surmised that catgut did the work now done by today's orthodontic wire! Later, in 400-500 BC, Hippocrates and Aristotle both ruminated about ways to straighten teeth and fix various dental conditions. Straight teeth have been on our minds a very long time!

While Greece was in its Golden Age, the Etruscans (the precursors of the Romans) were burying their dead with appliances that were used to maintain space and prevent collapse of the dentition during life. Then in a Roman tomb in Egypt, a researcher found a number of teeth bound with a gold wire -- the first documented ligature wire! At the time of Christ, Aurelius Cornelius Celsus first recorded the treatment of teeth by finger pressure. Despite all this evidence and experimentation, no significant events in orthodontics really occurred until the much later, in around the 1700s.

History of Orthodontics

Edward Angle, Father of Modern Orthodonics

Historians claim that several men deserve the title of being called "The Father of Orthodontics." One man was Norman W. Kingsley, a dentist, writer, artist, and sculptor.  In 1858, he wrote the first article on orthodontics, and in 1880, his book "Treatise on Oral Deformities" was published.  

In America in the early 1900s, Edward H. Angle devised the first simple classification system for malocclusions, which is still used today (Class I, Class II, and so on). Angle contributed significantly to the design of orthodontic appliances, incorporating many simplifications. He founded the first school and college of orthodontics, organized the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901 (which became the AAO in the 1930s), and founded the first orthodontic journal in 1907. In the wake of all these advancements, the field of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics eventually became the first dental specialty in its own right.



Braces continued to wrap around the teeth until the mid 1970s, when direct bonding became a reality. Why did it take so long for dentists to invent the modern bonded bracket? The adhesive! The bonded bracket was actually invented earlier, but the formulation for the adhesive wasn't perfected until almost a decade later.

Banding the teeth for orthodontics in the pastBonding the teeth for orthodontics


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“ History of Orthodontics ”


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