10 Facts about Braces That’ll Leave a Smile on Your Face

Braces probably seem pretty straightforward– or should we say straight-teeth-forward?

Dear readers,
Please excuse this attempt at orthodontic humor; we can’t help ourselves…

The overall process is simple: you get them put on by a reputable orthodontist, you wear them, you get them taken off, you wear your retainer. You probably know plenty of people who have or have had braces, and perhaps you’re one of them yourself. Braces may be pretty standard, but there are actually a lot of incredible facts about them you may not know!

Young girl learns interesting facts about braces

Fact #1 – Braces Are Nearly 300 Years Old

French physician Pierre Fauchard, known as the father of modern dentistry, made the first set of braces in 1728. They consisted of a flat piece of metal material connected to the wearer’s teeth by thread. Just shy of 200 years later, dentist Edward Angle made some important advancements to more effectively fix problematic tooth alignment. He created brackets in 1915, using either 14 or 18 karat gold because of its malleable properties.

Fact #2 – The Type of Wire Used for Braces was Invented by NASA

Are you ready for your straight, beautiful smile to blow people out of this world? Then you might love that the wire used for braces was created by none other than NASA!

Dr. Angle’s developments may have been innovative, but gold braces were also expensive. The field of orthodontics took a giant leap when NASA developed a metal alloy called nickel titanium in 1959. Though they created this heat-resistant metal for space-bound shuttles, it was also perfect for making thin, highly flexible wires that could maintain their shape after being bent and attached to a wearer’s teeth.

Fact #3 – Braces Aren’t Just for Straightening Your Teeth

Although having perfectly aligned teeth is a wonderful aspect of braces, one of the main benefits is actually that braces fix a wearer’s bite. If your upper front teeth cover your lower teeth and the cusps of your molars don’t touch, you have the perfect dental alignment; however, not many people have this naturally.

Braces are far more than just a cosmetic investment. Because they fix your bite, they also alleviate an array of health problems, including:

  • Difficulty speaking
  • Breathing issues
  • Problems chewing and swallowing

When it comes to your mouth, orthodontics are pretty and practical.

Fact #4 – {Smile} Like an Egyptian

The desire for straight teeth can be traced far further back than 18th century France– all the way to Ancient Egypt! Who knows whether Ancient Egyptians knew about the health benefits listed in the previous section or if they just wanted straight teeth for cosmetic reasons, but some mummies were actually found with makeshift “braces”. Archaeologists believe that the animal intestines wrapped around mummies’ teeth in a fashion similar to modern braces wiring were an attempt at straightening crooked teeth.

Fact #5 – There Are Over Ten Different Types of Braces

At first glance, you may think all braces are the same; however, they actually vary from one another in small ways. You and your orthodontist will evaluate what type of braces are perfect for you. Invisalign is an excellent option for patients who don’t want their braces to be visible. Mini braces or porcelain braces are also sometimes an option for people who don’t need their braces to be fully invisible, but do want them to be somewhat less noticeable.

Fact #6 – All Orthodontists are Dentists

Do you remember learning in elementary school that “all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares”? This is similar! An orthodontist is actually a dentist who specializes in the prevention and treatment of malocclusions and other teeth irregularities. Orthodontists go to dental school, but afterwards they complete an additional two to three years in an orthodontic residency program. About 6% of dentists are orthodontists.

Fact #7 – Braces Aren’t Just for Tweens and Teens

Sure, that may have been a stereotype of the past, but it’s certainly not realistic! The American Association of Orthodontics has reported that about one in five orthodontic patients is an adult. These days, parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents have decided to reap the benefits of a healthy bite and straighter smile. It’s never too late!

On the flip side of that coin, many people also don’t realize how young orthodontic treatment should start. The earlier you get your child in for his or her first free consultation, the earlier you’ll know what he or she might need. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends getting your child into an office by age seven. Certain malocclusions are best treated young; in fact, sometimes seeking orthodontic care for a small child can entirely prevent him or her from needing braces later in life.

Fact #8 – You Might Need to Bust Some Myths!

If you’re thinking about getting braces, it’s natural to have questions or concerns. But make sure you’re not letting any myths get to you! Here are some busted myths about braces you might be relieved to hear:

  1. You can still safely play sports
  2. You can still effectively play musical instruments, including ones that use your mouth
  3. Braces don’t actually set off metal detectors
  4. Braces do not interfere with radio signals
  5. Braces are not magnetic
  6. It’s not possible to “lock” braces while kissing another person with braces!

Whew! No one wants to have issues going through airport security, give up hobbies, or have trouble kissing. Good news all around!

Fact #9 – Time and Pressure Work Wonders

Time and pressure provide the teamwork that make the perfect smile dream work! If you’ve ever wondered why you have to wear braces for so long, you’ll find this fact especially interesting.

Each tooth has a nerve ending inside, known as pulp. If your teeth were to be realigned too quickly, the process would cut off their blood supply. Instead, we adjust your teeth with slow, steady pressure so the pulp continues to move with the tooth, supplying the tooth tissue with the blood and nutrition it needs. The archwires of the braces are designed to get the perfect amount of pressure to each tooth, moving it to its desired place at the most efficient–and healthy!–rate possible.

Fact #10 – One of Four Million

Going through a big change like getting braces can sometimes make people feel alone or self-conscious. While there’s nothing wrong with feeling that way at first, there is really no need to feel alienated. Why? Because FOUR MILLION other Americans are currently in your shoes!

That’s right, the American Association of Orthodontics has reported that four million other people also have braces at this very minute. Not only are millions sharing your quest for a healthier and more beautiful smile, but about one million of these orthodontics patients are adults over the age of 18. Braces are a popular decision– and for good reason. Rock that decision now and rock perfect teeth soon!

In addition to being a wise decision for your looks and health, it turns out braces are pretty interesting too! We hope you’ve enjoyed these incredible facts, and that they’ve shed some light on potential worries or concerns. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please call us at (828) 585-6045 or email us at [email protected] today. Blue Ridge Orthodontics is passionate about perfecting Asheville smiles, and yours can be next!