A Quick History of Orthodontics

Crooked teeth have been noted as far back as Neanderthal Man around 50,000 B.C. The beginning of orthodontics has been found in mummies with clumsy metal bands on some of their teeth. Archaeologists think that probably catgut was used as brace wire. This is not as odd as it might sound, as catgut is also successfully used to this day for violin strings (typically on a student violin).

Human remains have also been found with toothpick or dental floss grooves in their teeth. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, for whom the Hippocratic Oath is named, wrote in about 400 B.C. about his and others’ efforts to straighten people’s teeth. He described “irregularities of the teeth”, meaning what modern dentists call malocclusion – a bad bite.

The man we regard as the “Father of Modern Orthodontics” was an American dentist named Dr. Edward Angle. He lived between 1855 and 1930 and established orthodontics as a specialty, limiting his own practice to orthodontics only. In 1900 he founded the Angle School of Orthodontia in New London, Connecticut. He charged $200 for ten-week classes.

Today an orthodontist completes over ten years of training. He/she must complete three to five years of dental school after university graduation. Then there must be at least two years of study at an orthodontic program that is accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA).

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) had its first meeting in 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri. The first dental specialty board was the American Board of Orthodontics, established in 1929, and it certifies orthodontists as being qualified to practice orthodontics in the U.S.

Dr. Rudman is a member of the AAO and the ADA, among other professional associations. He believes in avoiding tooth extraction whenever possible and has done much research on facial growth and development.

To learn more about orthodontics and whether it might be a good option for you or your family member, please contact our Colorado orthodontics office today to schedule a personal consultation.

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