Uncommon Yet Interesting Facts About Orthodontics You Probably Don’t Know
According to recent research, adults are seeking orthodontic treatment in record numbers. In fact, the figures have increased by around 16% in just over 2 years. So, while over 4 million Americans are currently undergoing braces or aligners treatment, only a quarter of them are adults!
One of the main reasons that more people are turning to orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth is that the internet provides instant access to a huge amount of information. Also, updated techniques and changing views makes wearing braces or aligners far more acceptable in the 21st century. Of course, the impact of social media has a big part in all of this too.
So, while you may think you know all there is to know about orthodontic braces and clear aligners, here are some uncommon but interesting facts you probably haven’t heard yet.
Chances are, you aren’t born with perfectly straight teeth
It’s true! When we consider that we get approximately 50% of our genetic make-up from one side of the family and the remaining 50% from the other, it’s hardly surprising that jaws and teeth don’t always provide the perfect match. As a result, many orthodontic issues such as overbites, underbites, and crooked teeth are likely to be heavily influenced by genetics. In addition, other childhood habits such as thumb and finger sucking after the age of 4, tongue thrusting, and sleeping on the stomach may also play a part in problematic teeth when children are growing up.
The good news is that the wide choice of modern braces and aligner treatments have the ability to restore or create a perfect smile.
Modern braces use space-age wiring
Traditionally, bracket and wire style braces consisted of metal wiring that was more rigid and less resilient. Ultimately, this meant that they had to be adjusted more frequently. Nowadays, most braces are made using wiring developed specifically for the NASA space program back in the 1960’s. This wiring is made from a nickel-titanium alloy and was originally used on satellite antennae and solar paneling. What makes this wiring unique is that it is heat activated. So, rather than reacting to the sun, it’s been cleverly adapted to react to body heat.
So how do they work?
As the wires heat up in the patient’s mouth, their thermo-elastic property allows them to return to their original arch form. As they do they start to gradually pull the teeth into alignment. Because they’re controlled by body heat and therefore virtually independent, they require fewer physical adjustments by your orthodontist throughout the process. Ultimately this means modern braces that are more in keeping with both comfort and ease of lifestyle.
Orthodontic treatment isn’t a 20th century invention
While it’s true that clear aligners are in fact a relatively modern invention, orthodontic treatment in one form or another has been around for many years. In fact, did you know that as early as 400 BC people were experimenting with crude ways to straighten teeth? Egyptian remains, for example, have been discovered with rubberized cords made from animal intestines which were wrapped around the teeth.
People have been trying to straighten their teeth for thousands of years!
The ancient Romans too were known to be interested in teeth movement as Aulus Cornelius Celcus, one of the greatest medical researchers of his time, documented his attempts to move teeth using finger pressure alone.
However even as early as 1728, French Physician and father of modern dentistry Pierre Fauchard wrote the very first book “The Surgical Dentist” on teeth straightening methods. This was followed up in 1757 with a book written by Louis Bourdet, the official dentist to King Louis XV and XVI known as “the Dentist’s Art”. The book expanded on Fauchard’s initial techniques and covered more complex topics such as teeth overcrowding as well as early forms of teeth moving appliances.
Only 6% of dentists are actually orthodontists!
While many general dentists offer teeth straightening as part of their service, only around 6% actually specialize in the treatment and prevention of teeth irregularities. After graduating as a dentist, orthodontists have to go on to do a further 2-3 years of training and education at an accredited orthodontic residency program. So, when you do see an orthodontist, you can rest assured that you’re in very experienced and capable hands. Here at Uniform Teeth, for example, we have our very own UCSF trained orthodontists who deliver the best care possible for all our patients.
Not everything you hear about braces is true!
There are many rumors surrounding braces and not all of them are true. For instance, they don’t set off airport metal detectors, you won’t end up locking braces while kissing and reassuringly, wearing braces won’t increase your odds of being struck by lightning! You can, however, still play wind instruments effectively, participate in all types of sports, and lead a normal life. That said, if the thought of wearing bracket and wire style appliances just isn’t for you, then why not ask us about clear aligners for teeth?
There really is no age limit to getting orthodontic treatment
While the American Association of Orthodontists recommends getting your child seen by an orthodontist as soon as early as 7, there is no upper age limit to receiving treatment. In fact, it’s not uncommon nowadays for people to receive braces or aligner treatment into their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
As you can see, the subject of orthodontics doesn’t have to be boring, and hopefully, this has given you an insight into some of the more fascinating aspects of teeth straightening. But if you know of any interesting facts we’ve missed, then get in touch. We’d love to know your thoughts!