Everyone loves to be good at trivia—let’s dive deep into some braces facts, history, and even some amusing info so you can impress your friends should the next trivia night head in the direction of our favorite topic! (And as they say, knowledge is power. Some of these fun braces facts are also a good way to help ease your nerves or the fears of your child if they are going through the process of getting braces! Taking their mind off their worries and tilting it toward curiosity is always a good tactic!)
Did you know these braces facts?
- Orthodontics has roots in ancient history. Evidence exists to show attempts to straighten teeth in everyone from the ancient Egyptians to the Etruscans to the Romans. In Egypt, crude designs have been found on mummies made of animal skin. Ancient Etruscans used some sort of mouth guard, possibly in a death ceremony to keep teeth from collapsing inward. And Romans have documented experiments where they used regular pressure to attempt to straighten teeth.
- Modern braces were invented in France—before the Eiffel Tower was built! La dame de fer, as they call it, was built for the 1889 World’s Fair. Seventy years before that, in 1819, Frenchman Christophe-Francois Delabarre, the innovator of what would become modern braces, fit a woven wire over the upper and lower teeth to help straighten teeth over time.
- Teeth removal used to be a regular part of the process. In the 1890s, a large part of the plan would involve removing teeth to make room to straighten teeth. (Now, early orthodontics, where we begin as early as 4 years old to expand the jaw to make room for teeth to come in, has a goal to AVOID painful teeth removal.)
- Clear aligners were originated by Stanford graduates. Believe it or not, clear aligners have been available to the public since 2000—a very easy year to remember! Zia Chishti had experienced traditional metal braces, and wanted to invent an option without a wire or adjustments. He collaborated with Kelsey Wirth to invent Invisalign in 1997.
- Braces were once made of gold. Gold is easy to heat and shape, so in the early 1900s, if you had braces, they would most likely be 14 or 18 karat gold! The material has changed over the years, and traditional braces are now lighter and less intrusive than ever before.
- NASA invented the material used for wires. It turns out, modern braces ARE rocket science. In 1959, NASA developed nickel titanium, a heat-resistant metal alloy used in rockets. This material is used to make the wires in braces!
- The 1970s were a huge advancement age for braces. During this decade, dental adhesives became popular, and the bracket could adhere to the front of the tooth (rather than having the wire wound around each tooth). In the years since, X-rays, 3D imaging, and stainless steel wires make braces more comfortable!
- It’s more common than ever for adults to get braces! According to the American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 3 orthodontic patients is an adult! With new options like clear aligners available, getting your teeth straightened is more popular than ever.
- That’s Greek to me. The word orthodontic comes from “ortho,” Greek for straight or correct, and “dont,” Greek for tooth. But don’t let this one of our braces facts confuse you—orthodontic work isn’t just about straightening teeth! It is also about getting a good healthy bite, which protects your teeth from wear and tear.
- 4 million people! The American Association of Orthodontists reports that 4 million people are undergoing orthodontic work. So you are not alone!
Now, armed with this knowledge, you are ready to get braces without fear! And, as a bonus, you are fully prepared for pub trivia, should they be looking for you to know your braces facts!
Are you interested in learning more about braces? Visit us today for your consultation!