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The moment you’re fitted for braces, you join a tradition that dates back thousands of years. Though orthodontic braces weren’t invented until the 1800s, ancient civilizations employed similar methods to achieve straight smiles.

Archeologists found cords from the intestines of animals wrapped around the teeth of Egyptian mummies, similar in style to modern braces. Likewise, the ancient Romans used gold wire to bind teeth together and close off any noticeable gaps. Civilizations didn’t seem to move beyond these methods until the late 1700s.

In 1728, French dentist Pierre Fauchard used a device called the “Bandeau,” a horseshoe-shaped metal band that fit behind the teeth to expand the arch. Fauchard’s method earned him the title “Father of Dentistry.”

Within 100 years, Christopher-Francois Delabarre invented the first wire crib—a half-circle device placed directly on the teeth—which is thought by many to be the beginning of modern orthodontics. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Edward Maynard attached gum elastics to the wire to realign the jaw.

“Braces” was coined in the 1900s, when orthodontics took a giant leap forward. 1970 witnessed the discovery of dental adhesive, which allowed brackets to be stuck directly to the teeth. Stainless steel replaced gold and silver as the metal of choice, and dentists developed retainers.

Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth, two Stanford University graduates, utilized 3-D images to create clear plastic retainers that could replace braces. These retainers are now known as Invisalign®.

In the days of early orthodontic practices, braces were available only to the wealthy or those with severe dental impairments. Today, braces are a popular component of modern society. They come in a variety of styles, materials and colors to fit every mouth.

If you’re getting braces in San Jose, California, contact Phan Orthodontics at 408.251.7901. We’ll make sure you receive the best care for your smile.