Pierre Fauchard, also known as the “father of modern dentistry,” is credited with the development of braces, or orthodontic treatment, in the 18th century. Prior to Fauchard, the practice of straightening teeth was limited to the use of crude and often painful methods such as ties, bands, and wires.
Fauchard, a French physician and surgeon, is considered the first person to systematically describe and illustrate the various techniques and appliances used in the field of orthodontics. In his book “The Surgeon Dentist,” which was published in 1728, Fauchard described the use of a device called a “Bandeau,” which was a horseshoe-shaped piece of metal that was worn around the teeth to help align them.
In the 19th century, other orthodontic appliances were developed, such as the “spur” appliance, which used a screw to gradually move the teeth into the desired position. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Edward Angle, known as the “father of modern orthodontics,” developed a classification system for malocclusions, or misaligned teeth, and introduced the use of rubber bands to help move the teeth into their proper positions.
Braces as we know them today, with brackets and wires, were first developed in the 1930s. These early braces were made of gold or platinum and were expensive and not widely available. In the 1950s, stainless steel braces were introduced, which were more affordable and widely available.
In the 1970s and 1980s, advancements in materials and technology led to the development of ceramic braces, which are made of a clear or tooth-colored material and are less visible than traditional metal braces. In the 21st century, invisible braces, such as Invisalign, have become popular, as they are made of a clear, removable plastic material and are almost invisible when worn.
In conclusion, the history of braces can be traced back to the 18th century with the work of Pierre Fauchard, and has evolved over time with the introduction of new materials and technology. Today, there are a variety of options available for orthodontic treatment, allowing people to straighten their teeth and improve their oral health and appearance.