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The Braces of Today

If you think the desire for straight teeth is a trapping of modern society, think again! Straight teeth have been on our minds a very long time! Extreme Makeovers may be new, but "braces" date as far back as ancient man!

Early History

According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists), archaeologists have discovered mummified remains with crude metal bands on individual teeth. And the first “orthodontists” used catgut rather than metal bands to slowly tighten and move misaligned teeth into place.

  • 1000 BCstrong>: Ancient Greeks attempt to straighten teeth using catgut and metal wires. The braces of the early 1900s were dramatically different than the braces people think about today. Dentists would individually wrap bands made of ivory, wood, copper, zinc or even gold around each tooth. The bands would then be connected by a wire. The wire could be adjusted to apply pressure to the teeth, slowly moving them into proper alignment.

Edward H. Angle (1855-1930) devised the first simple classification system for malocclusions, which is still in use today. His classification system was a way for dentists to describe how crooked teeth are, what way teeth are pointing, and how teeth fit together.

  • 1901 AD: Dr. Edward Angle organizes the American Society of Orthodontists (ASO) and founds the first orthodontist school: the Angle School, taught at The University of Iowa.
  • 1926 AD: The University of Iowa Orthodontic Program becomes the first orthodontic program to be recognized by a graduate college. The use of stainless steel, instead of gold or silver, was a part of the improved dental techniques used for braces in the 1970s. Stainless steel was a relief to both patients and dentists; patients were happy because it reduced the cost of braces, while dentists liked it because it was extremely flexible and easy to manipulate.

1959 ADstrong>: Stainless steel replaces precious metals like gold as the metal of choice for orthodontic appliances.

  • 1974 AD: Adhesive brackets, which are glued to the teeth, replace the giant wrap-around style braces of the past.
  • 1988 AD: Dr. Harman graduates from The University of Iowa Orthodontic Program.

Braces of Today

2000 AD: Invisalign braces are made available to the public, changing the stereotypes of orthodontic appliances.

  • 2004 ADstrong>: SureSmile technology creates a measureably better smile for patients. It offers greater precision, better results, and a beautiful smile in 8-12 months less time than conventional braces. Dr. Harman is one of only 4 providers of this revolutionary technology in the state of Kansas!

Orthodontics has an exciting future as the technology continues to improve. Today, companies like SureSmile use robotics and nanowires to reduce treatment time and improve alignment precision. NASA has developed heat-activated nickel titanium wires that use the body’s natural heat to provide continual, gentle force that moves teeth. By using customized SureSmile archwires, your orthodontist can move each tooth to the target position in a more direct path than with traditional braces. With the efficiency of SureSmile, you’ll spend less time in braces and achieve high-quality results. By allowing the doctor to visually define the desired position, SureSmile calculates all of the customization needed to deliver the doctor’s plan.

These advances in technology have all been made with the orthodontic patient in mind. Schedule an orthodontic evaluation for yourself and anyone seven years or older in your household. And remember to tell your neighbors, friends and co-workers about how Heidi Harman Orthodontics can get you on your way to a beautiful smile…faster!