Modern Orthodontics

History of Orthodontics

Although the appeal of a healthy and symmetrical smile never changes, the technology orthodontists use to create that smile evolves. Modern orthodontia uses 3-D computer modeling, new materials and less visible means of straightening teeth, but the earliest efforts at orthodontic correction are ancient. Archaeologists have found Roman skulls bearing thin bands of precious metals looped around their teeth in an early form of braces. The theory behind this early Roman orthodontic apparatus was sound; dental traction aligns crooked teeth and malocclusions relatively painlessly.

Modern Braces

Modern braces typically consist of stainless steel or titanium, not the gold and silver of Roman times. Traditional braces — the row of brackets and wires you probably think of when you hear the word “braces” — show when you smile, but advances in orthodontic technology give you options that are less readily visible. Ceramic or “tooth-colored” braces match the hue of your natural teeth; only the slim metal wire arch that shapes your straighter smile is noticeable.

Invisible Braces

Lingual braces move the brackets to the inner surfaces of your teeth. They’re completely invisible when you open your mouth. While not everyone is a candidate for lingual braces, these hidden braces are an exciting option for people in the public eye.

Clear alignment devices serve the same purpose as traditional braces, but work without wires and brackets. Your teeth fit into a progressive series of clear, rigid forms that train them into position over time. Unlike traditional, ceramic or lingual braces, these frames are removable for eating and drinking.

Fast & Accurate Treatment

All types of braces benefit from the latest computer imaging technology. Your orthodontist can plan your course of adjustments more precisely with 3-D models and imaging software that plots your future progress. This imaging technology underlies the latest advances in custom-shaped wire appliances. Fully customized devices may shorten the length of time you wear your braces, producing more noticeable results in less time.

Although the fundamentals of building a better smile through orthodontics remain the same, the tools available to orthodontists continue to improve. Discuss the latest options with your orthodontist to see if they’re right for you.