4 Interesting & Little-Known Facts About Braces

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mummy in a museum

Are braces interesting? If you were to talk to an orthodontist, they could easily go on for hours about them, but just thinking about orthodontic care right now might have caused you to yawn. Braces actually have a long and fascinating history that most people don’t know about, and here are just a few fun facts you can share with your friends and family.

1. Mummies Have Braces

Several Ancient Egyptian mummies have been discovered with what appears to be rudimentary braces. They have usually consisted of cords made from dried sheep or horse intestines that are tied around metal posts held against the teeth. It is believed that they were intended to give the mummies straight and attractive smiles in the afterlife.

2. Braces As We Know Them Are Almost 300 Years Old

Before the invention of metal braces, people used a wide variety of materials in an attempt to straighten their teeth. It wasn’t until about 300 years ago (1728 to be exact) that a French physician, Pierre Fauchard, created the precursor to modern-day braces. They consisted of a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron that helped expand the hard palate so the teeth have more room. Fauchard is considered to be a pioneer in the dental world, and today, he even has a prominent dental society named after him.

3. NASA Designed the Metal Used in Modern Braces

The research done by NASA has given the world several everyday products that most people have no clue got their beginnings in space. The alloy that is commonly used in braces today was originally designed by NASA to be a heat-resistant material on space shuttles. Because this particular alloy is able to maintain its shape when bent, it was perfect for making flexible wires, which could then be attached to teeth.

Not stopping there, NASA is also responsible for transparent polycrystalline alumina, the material used for clear/ceramic braces.  

4. Today’s Braces Are Still Evolving

Braces have changed A LOT over time, and they are continuing to do so as new materials, technologies, and techniques are being discovered. Now, straightening the teeth is more predictable and comfortable than ever, and many orthodontists use braces to resolve other types of problems like persistent jaw pain, headaches, and even sleep issues.

While the history of braces is certainly fascinating, the future is just as bright. Suffice it to say, if you or a loved one is interested in straightening your teeth, now is the best time to do it!

About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Shirck is an award-winning, board-certified orthodontist who serves patients of all ages in the Columbus area. He has literally helped thousands of patients achieve healthy, beautiful smiles with braces, and he is constantly working to stay on top of the latest breakthroughs in the orthodontic world so he can use them in our practice. If you have questions about braces or would like to schedule a FREE in-person consultation for you or your child, click here.