10 Facts About Braces That You Probably Didn’t Know
Have you ever wondered about the origins of braces or how they actually work to straighten your teeth? Braces have become so commonplace that we often don’t think much about the technology behind them. However, there are some really fascinating facts about braces that you probably never knew!
In this article, we’ll countdown 10 interesting facts about braces that will surprise you. By the end, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for these magical metal mouth machines!
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1. Braces date back hundreds of years
While braces may seem like a modern invention, they actually have a very long history. Archeologists have found mummified ancient Egyptian skeletons dating back to 400 BC that have crude metal bands wrapped around their teeth.
It’s believed these were an early attempt to straighten crooked teeth. However, the first true braces were invented in 1728 by French dentist Pierre Fauchard. He used flat metal pieces connected by threads to pull teeth into alignment.
2. Braces wire was originally invented for the space program
The flexible nickel-titanium wires used in modern braces were actually created by NASA scientists in 1959. They needed a flexible yet strong metal for spaceship parts that could withstand extreme changes in temperature.
Later, orthodontists realized this new nickel-titanium alloy was perfect for guiding teeth into place gently over time. Who knew braces technology came from outer space!
3. Braces do more than just straighten teeth
While straighter teeth are the obvious benefit of braces, they actually do much more. Braces are designed to correct your overall bite alignment. This ensures your upper and lower teeth come together properly.
A good bite enables clear speech, prevents wearing down of tooth enamel, and reduces jaw pain. So braces are an important orthopedic treatment for your whole mouth, not just cosmetic!
4. Teeth were straightened in ancient Egypt
The desire for straight teeth dates back thousands of years. Archeologists have found mummies from ancient Egypt dating back to 2500 BC that have metal bands around their teeth.
Experts believe these were an attempt to create makeshift braces to align the teeth for aesthetic reasons. Egyptians sure knew a beautiful smile was important, even that long ago!
5. Braces put slow constant pressure on teeth
Braces work by applying gradual pressure to slowly shift teeth into alignment. Each tooth has a nutrient blood supply inside called the pulp. If teeth move too quickly, this can cut off circulation in the pulp.
The gentle constant pressure from braces keeps the pulp moving with the tooth, allowing nutrients to continue flowing. This slow movement prevents tooth damage while aligning your smile.
6. There are many types of braces available
While the classic metal braces immediately come to mind, there are actually many types of braces available. Clear ceramic braces blend in more with teeth. Lingual braces are mounted behind teeth so they’re invisible.
There are also invisible aligners like Invisalign that use a series of clear plastic trays. The options allow you to choose what works best for your lifestyle and smile goals.
7. Braces can be worn at any age
It’s never too late to get braces! Today, more than 1 million adult patients in the U.S. wear braces. Some choose braces to finally fix longstanding issues with their bite or crowded teeth.
Others get braces later in life to realign teeth that have shifted over time. Braces work just as effectively on adult teeth as they do on children’s and teens’ teeth.
8. Braces don’t set off metal detectors
Despite being made of metal, braces won’t set off metal detectors at airports or other secure locations. That’s because the metals used in braces are low nickel stainless steel alloys in small amounts. Plus, the brackets are stuck to your teeth, not just loose metal.
So rest assured, you can breeze through airport security without any embarrassing false alarms from your mouth gear!
9. Braces aren’t just about looks
While straighter teeth are usually the motivation for getting braces, they provide health benefits too. Well-aligned teeth distribute biting force evenly which prevents fractures or chips. They also aid proper chewing and reduce wear and tear on tooth enamel.
Additionally, braces correct bite issues that can cause problems with speaking, respiratory issues, and TMJ disorder. Braces aren’t just cosmetic—they support whole body health!
10. Millions wear braces worldwide
According to estimates by orthodontic associations, around 4 million people in the U.S. currently wear braces. And that’s not even counting all the preteens just getting their first set!
Add in all the brace wearers worldwide, and the number is over 120 million. So rest assured, you’ll be in good company with your metallic smile.
As you can see, braces are a fascinating fusion of ancient history, aerospace technology, and modern medicine. We hope learning these 10 facts gave you a newfound appreciation for braces. While the road to perfectly straight teeth may be a long one, it will definitely be worth it in the end. Just think of your new amazing smile!
Frequently Asked Questions about Braces
What are the side effects of braces?
Some common side effects of braces include mild soreness/pain after adjustments, temporary lip or cheek irritation from brackets, tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and difficulty eating or speaking for the first week after getting braces on. Proper care and oral hygiene helps minimize discomfort.
What is the benefit of braces?
Braces provide straighter, properly aligned teeth and an improved bite. This results in enhanced dental function for clear speech, easier eating and chewing, prevention of tooth damage, and an overall boost to oral health. There are also confidence and appearance benefits to having a straight, beautiful smile.
How long do braces last?
The average braces treatment takes 18-24 months but can vary based on the severity of the issues being corrected. More complex cases involving jaw surgeries or growth modification take longer. Adult braces may also take longer since adult teeth shift more slowly than children's. But the end results are well worth the time invested!