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If you’re nervous about getting braces, we at Sunshine Dental Group want you to know that you have nothing to fear. The art of orthodontics is at least 50,000 years old, which means we’ve had a lot of practice and time to cultivate a safe, pain-free experience. If you encountered archaic braces, you would recognize them for what they are, even if the materials are different.

Archeologists have found cords from the intestines of animals wrapped around the teeth of Egyptian mummies, similar in style to modern braces. Likewise, the ancient Romans used gold wire to attach brackets to their teeth. Other popular methods were tooth filing and using finger pressure at regular intervals to shift the teeth.

Before people realized that crooked teeth can cause tooth decay and gum disease, orthodontic care was only for cosmetic purposes. For example, the Etruscans (predecessors of the ancient Romans) inserted pure gold bands into the mouths of deceased women during burial rituals to beautify their teeth for the afterlife.

Modern orthodontics developed in the 18th century, starting with dental impressions made from wax and then from plaster. Pierre Fauchard, otherwise known as the “Father of Dentistry,” created a horseshoe-shaped strip of metal (called a bandeau) that fit around the teeth to correct their alignment. Fauchard also tied neighboring teeth together to maintain stability while they healed.

By the end of the 20th century, the bandeau had been replaced by stainless steel wires and brackets. Orthodontists also began using headgear and retainers. Today, braces come in a variety of colors, styles and materials. Some orthodontic practices, like Sunshine Dental Group, offer Invisalign®, a transparent alternative to traditional braces.

If you’re considering braces in El Monte, California, contact Sunshine Dental Group at 626.579.4274. Dr. Hu Zhao or Dr. Rudy Paz Casanova will sit down with you, discuss your options and offer the best care for your smile.