Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Evolvement of Brackets

evolvement of braces-vanlaecken-brookings

I am sure many of you are wondering what braces looked like in the early 1900’s. They were composed of a variety of materials such as, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, copper and brass. These materials were used to form loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures. Gold was the most common material used for wires and bands. Unfortunately, it was quite expensive and only a small number of individuals could afford treatment.

In the 1960’s, stainless steel began being the material of choice for orthodontic appliances. This greatly reduced the cost and made orthodontics more obtainable for a greater number of individuals. Most of the appliances consisted of bands being placed around every tooth and aligned with wires. Bends were placed in the wire in order to move each tooth to its correct position. This was extremely time consuming.

As you can see from the pictures above, bands were placed around every tooth until the mid 1970’s. Although brackets had been around since the late 1960’s, there was no way to attach them to the teeth. That was until the discovery of dental adhesives which allowed for the brackets to be placed directly on the teeth instead of using bands or wires wrapped around each tooth.


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The Father of Orthodontics

Father of Orthodontics

Edward Hartley Angle


Many individuals have made contributions to the field of orthodontics but one individual stands above the rest when considering who has had the greatest influence in this field of study. Edward H. Angle is thought to be “The Father of Orthodontics”. In 1887 he published the first classification of bite abnormalities in his “Notes on Orthodontia” with occlusion being his primary focus on diagnosis. His classification was dependent on the position of the maxillary first molar in relation to the mandibular first molar. This classification system is still used today (Class I, Class II, Class III). This classification allowed dentists to describe how misaligned teeth are aligned, what way teeth are pointing, and how they fit together.

In 1899 he established the first school of orthodontics in St. Louis. He introduced photography into orthodontics, organized the beginnings of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and founded the first orthodontic journal in 1907. He is credited with making many recommendations and changes to the first orthodontic appliances used in the United States. He also played a part in the first specialty board in dentistry. In 1929 the American Board of Orthodontics was established.

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