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Did you know that orthodontics dates back as far as 50,000 years? A straight smile is an ages-old vanity, although the health benefits of straight teeth are a more recent discovery. Not surprisingly, ancient civilizations used different methods and materials than modern orthodontists, but the styles and results are more similar than you think.


In olden days, orthodontic treatment was specifically for cosmetic purposes. The Etruscans (predecessors of the ancient Romans) inserted pure gold bands into the mouths of deceased women to preserve the teeth in the afterlife. Archeologists found cords from the intestines of animals wrapped around the teeth of Egyptian mummies, similar in style to modern braces.

The ancient Romans invented a dental device similar in appearance and purpose to modern braces: gold wire used to attach brackets to the teeth. Other popular methods were tooth filing and using finger pressure at regular intervals to shift the teeth.


Modern orthodontics first arose in the 18th century with the invention of dental impressions, contrived from wax and then from plaster. Soon after, Pierre Fauchard, known as the “Father of Dentistry,” created a horseshoe-shaped strip of metal (called a bandeau) that fit around the teeth to correct their alignment. Fauchard also tied neighboring teeth together to preserve their shape.

The 20th century witnessed the arrival of stainless steel wires and brackets, headgear and retainers. Today, the process of getting braces is much gentler and quicker, due to large improvements in orthodontics. For those who dislike the idea of visible wires and brackets, Schouten Orthodontics offers several alternatives to traditional braces.

If you’re considering getting braces—or another form of orthodontics—in Springville, Utah, contact Dr. John R. Schouten at 801.491.9372. As an orthodontist, he is more than happy to discuss your options and help you achieve your best smile yet.