History of Orthodontics

While most people think that orthodontics is a modern form of dentistry, the art of straightening teeth has been around for centuries. Historians have found evidence of orthodontics dating back to Ancient Egypt with a variety of devices and techniques used for treatments. Over the years, orthodontics developed to provide a sophisticated format for changing the teeth to create a straighter smile. Here at New England Orthodontic Specialists, we feel it is important to get to know the history of orthodontics to help our patients have straighter teeth.

When teeth are poorly aligned, or there are jaw issues, it can affect the way we chew and speak. Because of these issues, orthodontics has been around for many years, with new developments constantly created to better our overall health and well-being.

Ancient Methods

Archaeologists are known for discoveries, and during digs, information has been found to date teeth that were crooked to humans from 50,000 years ago. Egyptian mummies have been found to have similar appliances on their teeth in their tombs comparable to what we use today. Mummies have been found wearing metal bands on their teeth, and surprisingly, instead of elastic bands, catgut is believed to have been tied to the bands to create the pressure needed to straighten teeth.

Fast forward to the 17th and 18th century and historians began to uncover dental impressions. Matthaeus Gottfried Purmann was reportedly one of the first individuals known to have used wax to make impressions of the teeth.

It would not be until the 18th century when major developments would take place in the industry. Known as the Father of Dentistry, Pierre Fauchard was born in 1728 and was the inventor of the Bandeau. This appliance was a strip of metal configured in a horseshoe shape that was used to fit around the teeth. Holes were placed in the appliance to fit over the teeth.

By the early to mid-1800s, additional improvements were made to the dental field. By 1822, a form of headgear had been created by a man named J.S. Gunnell. By 1846, the first form of rubber was used in orthodontic appliances in America by, E.G. Tucker.

Edward Hartley Angle would enter the dental field in the 20th century, earning the notoriety as the Father of Modern Orthodontics. He earned several achievements, including identifying the properties of misalignment.

Advancements continued in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s with the most recent advancements including Damon Braces and Invisalign. By learning more about the history of orthodontics, our office knows how to treat a variety of teeth issues, from overcrowding to misalignment. By consulting with our experts, we can configure the right method of straightening your teeth.

Over the centuries, the methods of teeth alignment have proven that it is a patient’s best interest to have well-aligned teeth. With straightened teeth, you can clean your teeth well, removing any plaque or bacteria. Consult with our team today to find out what method will work best for you.

For more information about the history of orthodontics, call the experienced professionals here at New England Orthodontic Specialists at (978) 922-3462 today!


497 Cabot St
Beverly, MA 01915-2537


15 Main St.
Topsfield, MA 01983

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(978) 922-3462

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