10 fun facts you might not know about orthodontics

Are you thinking about getting orthodontic treatment? Read these 10 curious facts about braces and aligners to find out more about the weird and wonderful world of orthodontics.

Who invented braces?

The first orthodontic braces were developed by French dentist Pierre Fauchard in 1728. Hailed as “the father of modern dentistry,” Fauchard’s braces used gold wire and thread.

However, archaeological evidence could suggest that basic orthodontic appliances were used thousands of years earlier. Some Ancient Egyptian mummies have been found with bands on their teeth made from animal organs, which may have been used to straighten their teeth.

2. Braces in space?

Braces were still usually made of gold into the mid-20th century, until the nickel titanium alloy was discovered in 1959. Originally developed by NASA when searching for a strong, heat-resistant metal for space shuttle hulls, this alloy made braces much more affordable and led to their widespread use.

3. Braces are heat-activated

One property of nickel titanium that makes it ideal for braces is its superelasticity. This means that the brace wires are activated by heat (in this case, body heat), which makes them want to straighten. This puts constant, gentle pressure on your teeth, helping to move them into their desired positions over time.

4. No, they don’t set off metal detectors

Some people can be put off braces by myths and misconceptions. The metal used in braces isn’t magnetic, won’t set off metal detectors at the airport, doesn’t attract lightning and doesn’t pick up radio signals. It’s also extremely rare for two people wearing braces to get tangled when kissing, but still be careful.

5. Invisalign was invented by students

Invisalign treatment is a popular alternative to braces that uses clear plastic aligners instead of metal brackets and wires. Align Technology was founded by Zia Chishti and Kelsey Wirth while studying at Stanford University in 1997. They had help from fellow students Apostolos Lerios and Brian Freyburger, who handled the computer modelling side of things.

6. Your teeth are always moving

Your teeth move throughout your life, even when you’re not having orthodontic treatment. They gradually shift towards the front of the mouth as we age, and if you don’t wear a retainer after your braces are removed, your teeth may shift back to their original crooked or misaligned position.

7. All orthodontists are dentists, but not the other way round

The difference between an orthodontist and a dentist is that an orthodontist can do everything a dentist can, but the reverse isn’t true in most cases. After completing a dentistry course, around 6 percent of dentists study for further years to gain their qualification in orthodontics.

8. Orthodontics isn’t just for kids

Most people get orthodontic treatment in their teens, as this is when their permanent teeth have all come through but are still developing, making them easier to move. However, a growing number of adults are now choosing to correct a crooked or misaligned smile with braces or aligners, especially since more discreet options such as Invisalign have become available.

9. Celebrities wear braces too

If you’ve ever wondered how to get a perfect Hollywood smile, orthodontics has played its part in many cases. Angelina Jolie, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Emma Watson are just some of the celebrities who wore braces in their youth. Some stars even proudly display their orthodontic treatments as adults, from actors such as Tom Cruise and Faye Dunaway to singers like Estelle and Gwen Stefani.

10. It’s not just about appearance

Straightening your smile and closing gaps isn’t only important for aesthetic reasons. Well-aligned teeth can be easier to clean and less easy to damage, as well as preventing problems with eating, speech and jaw disorders. There are lots of good reasons to choose orthodontics.

Talk to an orthodontist in Brisbane

If you’d like to know more about braces or Invisalign treatments, contact Swish Dental to make an appointment at our Brisbane clinics. Our experienced orthodontist can answer all your questions and give you all the information you need to make an informed choice.

Call us in Everton Park on (07) 3485 0895 or Mitchelton on (07) 3485 0875, or get in touch online.