Braces are a pretty simple process: you get them put on by an orthodontist, wear them, get them taken off, and wear your retainer. There are plenty of people who have them, so it is likely that you know someone who has them, or you have them yourself. There are actually many incredible facts about braces that you may not know about! If you’re interested in learning more about braces, keep reading to learn some cool facts about them.
Fact #1 – Braces are nearly 300 years old
French physician Pierre Fauchard, known as the father of modern dentistry, made the first set of braces in 1728. The braces consisted of a flat piece of metal material connected to the teeth by thread. Just shy of 200 years later, dentist Edward Angle made some important advancements to fix problematic tooth alignments more effectively. He created brackets in 1915, and there was 14 or 18 karat gold used because of its malleable properties.
Fact #2 – The type of wire used for braces was invented by NASA
Dr. Angle’s developments may have been innovative, but gold braces were also expensive. The field of orthodontics took a giant leap when NASA developed a metal alloy called nickel titanium in 1959. Although this heat-resistant metal was built for space-bound shuttles, it was also perfect for making thin, highly flexible wires that could maintain their shape after being bent and attached to the wearer’s teeth.
Fact #3 – Braces aren’t just for straightening your teeth
Although having perfectly aligned teeth is a great part of braces, one of the main benefits is that braces fix a wearer’s bite. If your upper front teeth cover your lower teeth and the cusps of your molars don’t touch, you have the perfect dental alignment. Many people do not have this naturally though.
Since braces fix your bite, they also alleviate an array of health problems, including:
- Difficulty speaking
- Breathing issues
- Problems chewing and swallowing
Fact #4 – Smile like an Egyptian
The desire for straight teeth can be traced back all the way to Ancient Egypt! Some mummies were actually found with makeshift “braces”. Archaeologists believe that the animal intestines wrapped around mummies’ teeth were similar to modern day braces and that they were an attempt to straighten crooked teeth.
Fact #5 – There are over 10 different types of braces
At first glance you may think that all braces are the sample, but they actually vary from one another in small ways. You and your orthodontist evaluate what type of braces are best for you. For patients who don’t want their braces to be visible, Invisalign is a great option. Mini braces or porcelain braces are also sometimes an option for individuals who don’t need their braces to be fully visible but also want them to be somewhat less noticeable.
Fact #6 – All orthodontists are dentists
Do you remember when you learned that “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares” in elementary school? This is similar, because an orthodontist is actually a dentist who specializes in the prevention and treatment of malocclusions and other teeth irregularities. Orthodontists go to dental school and then complete an additional two to three years in an orthodontic residency program. About 6% of dentists are orthodontists.
Fact #7 – Braces aren’t just for tweens and teens
The American Association of Orthodontics has reported that about one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. These days, orthodontic treatments are available for parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.
On the flip side, many people don’t how young orthodontic treatment should start. The earlier you get your child in for a for a consultation, the earlier you’ll know what he or she might need. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends getting your child into an office by age seven. Certain malocclusions are best treated at a young age. In fact, sometimes seeking orthodontic care for a small child can entirely prevent him or her from needing braces later in life.
Fact #8 – You might need to bust some myths
If you’re thinking about getting braces, it’s natural to have questions or concerns, but make sure you’re not letting any myths get to you! Here are some myths about braces:
- You can still safely play sports.
- You can still play musical instruments effectively, including ones that use your mouth.
- Braces don’t actually set off metal detectors.
- Braces don’t interfere with radio signals.
- Braces aren’t magnetic.
- It’s not possible to “lock” braces when kissing another person with braces.
Fact #9 – Time and pressure work wonders
Time and pressure are the perfect teamwork that make the perfect smile dream work!
Every tooth has a nerve ending inside, which is known as pulp. If your teeth were realigned too quickly, the process would cut off blood supply. Instead, teeth are adjusted with slow, steady pressure so the pulp continues to move with the tooth, supplying the tooth tissue with the blood and nutrition it needs. The archwires of the braces are designed to get the perfect amount of pressure to each tooth, which means moving to the desired location at the most healthy and efficient rate possible.
Fact #10 – One of four million
The American Association of Orthodontics has reported that four million people have braces at this very minute. About one million of orthodontic patients are adults over the age of 18. Braces are very popular and for good reason.
We hope you found these facts interesting and that they’ve helped you realize that braces are nothing to be scared about.