13 Fun and Interesting Facts About Orthodontics
Thinking about getting some orthodontic work done? Here are some fun facts about orthodontics that we bet you didn’t know. We can help you as an orthodontist in central NJ.
- The idea of straightening your teeth goes back many thousands of years. Ancient Romans used gold wire to help straighten their teeth as far back as 400 BCE. Aristotle wrote about ways to straighten teeth while practicing philosophy and medicine. Egyptian mummies were found with metal bands wrapped around their teeth, likely in an effort to make their teeth more straight. Crooked teeth can be found in Neanderthal times, though no evidence shows an ability to make tools to correct prehistoric dental problems. So we are not alone in our modern pursuit to make your smile look nicer.
- There are over 4 million patients undergoing orthodontal work at a time, just in the United States. These people are getting braces or getting help with the ways their jaw is growing. If you are thinking about getting braces, you might start to notice more people around you getting braces too because there are millions out there in the same boat as you. Some of the best smiles you see were among the 4 million per year last year, too.
- Millions of people who are working with an orthodontist are adults who have decided on their own to start correcting their teeth. Many are starting to get braces because they have changes in insurance, or felt ready to start making changes when they got older. 1 in 4 patients who start getting dental work done are over age 18 and not on their parent’s dental plan. You are never too old to start, as long as you still have teeth, and you won’t necessarily have to wear metal braces.
- Braces were invented in the 17th century by French dentist Pierre Fauchard.At the time, braces were a horseshoe shaped piece of metal tied to the teeth with thin thread. Fauchard was among the first to recognize the impact of teeth on overall health and speech. Dentists and orthodontists weren’t really a profession before Fauchard began to better explain the anatomy of teeth – instead, people had their teeth pulled by a barber.
- Early braces were made of gold. Why? Gold is a fairly flexible metal and could be readily stretched in just the right away to produce the desired path for a tooth. Since gold is fairly soft, patients had to see orthodontists more often for more frequent adjustments. You might have heard the saying, “A mouth full of gold.” This references both early cavity fillings and the gold used to make the earliest braces.
- Orthodontists are actually a fairly uncommon type of doctor. Only about 6% of dentists are also qualified, orthodontists. The difference? Orthodontists are specialists at moving the jaw and the teeth within. They also spent thousands of extra hours after the initial four years of dentist school getting the right training and experience to handle delicate mouths.
- Teeth can move after treatment. All orthodontists will tell patients to wear a post treatment retainer which is softer and meant to help hold your teeth properly. Some patients do not wear their retainer often enough and end up coming back to get their smiles recorrected – in part because they like how their teeth looked after braces but not after a lack of retainer changed their smiles.
- Braces technology has changed considerably. Instead of gold, some of the wires used to make braces are made of a nickel-titanium alloy. These wires are activated by the patient’s body heat which allows them to maintain their shape to the teeth. Chromium-nickel-cobalt is also popular Alloys are used for their ability to resist rust and bacteria, neither of which braces should help create. Braces need to be rust resistant especially because they will be exposed to the moisture of your saliva constantly.
- Since braces have been made of more modern materials, you no longer have to worry about braces being magnetic. Braces won’t set off metal detectors, won’t attract other metal objects (unlike in the movies), and don’t increase your chance of getting struck by lightning. Braces also do not pick up radio signals, so you’ll have to keep the radio in your car or your home radio.
- Nearly 80% of Americans have had a cavity by age 17. Regular brushing and dentist visits can help defer and prevent cavities, but nearly everyone gets a cavity eventually. Teeth are made to last your lifetime, but you’ll need to help them combat the effects of sugar and plague by brushing frequently, flossing, and getting professional cleaning help too.
- Thanks to fluoride, metal brackets are unlikely to damage your teeth. We can coat the brackets that will go near your teeth in fluoride so that they help strengthen your enamel rather than potentially wearing away the tooth exterior. The fluoride is mixed in with the cement that binds to your teeth.
- Your teeth need to have room to move. We might put in palatial expanders in your mouth to very slowly widen the roof of your mouth to very slowly allow for more room for teeth to move around. Since the process is very gradual, you shouldn’t feel any pain.
- The best age to start seeing an orthodontist? 7 years old, when a child has started to lose some teeth and can have some work done to get ahead of their eventual growth. Children who start young are also more likely to go back and get help as adults, at least more so than children who don’t go to the dentist until they need more work done to fix their smiles.
Which ones did you know about? Come in to see us so we can talk more about orthodontics and what we can do to make your smile better. It’s never too late to start and have a more confident smile. Tell your friends too – we would love to help them.