The middle ages (fifth to fifteenth century) also referred to as the dark ages, offered very little in the forward movement of dentistry and all science for that matter. It wasn’t until the late 16th century that dentistry started to show progress. In 1580 the first students of dentistry were admitted to a university in France. France remained the leader in the dental field for the next 150 years. In 1728 Pierre Fauchard a French physician published the first text on Orthodontia titled The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth, with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth. Fauchard used a device called a “Bandeau” as shown above. This device was a horseshoe shaped piece of precious metal which helped expand the arch. Teeth were ligated (tied) to this appliance in order to improve their alignment.
The Bandeau appliance was improved upon by Ettienne Bourdet who was the dentist to the king of France in the mid 18h century. Not only did he make changes to the appliance, he also began placing the appliance on the back (tongue side) of the teeth. He also published a text called “The Dentist’s Art”. In this text he was the first to call for the extraction of teeth to alleviate crowding. Although several dentists in the earlier centuries had dabbled in the alignment of teeth it wasn’t until the 19th century that several individuals advanced the field of orthodontics with their inventions.
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