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Did you know that the field of orthodontics is the very first recognized specialty within the dental profession? The need for straightening crooked teeth has been around for centuries. Fortunately, the methods to achieve this have never been more effective and available, thanks to modern advancements within the orthodontic profession.
Here are some additional facts about orthodontics that may surprise you:
The word “orthodontics” is of Greek origin
“Ortho” means straight or correct. “Dont”- (not to be confused with “don’t”) – means “tooth.” Put it all together and “orthodontics” means “straight teeth.”
People have had crooked teeth for eons
Crooked teeth have been around since the time of the Neanderthal man. In fact, archeologists have found Egyptian mummies with crude metal bands wrapped around teeth. Hippocrates wrote about “irregularities of the teeth” around 400 BCE* – he meant misaligned teeth and jaws. About 2,100 years later, a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard, wrote about an orthodontic appliance in his 1728 landmark book on dentistry, The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth. He described the bandeau, a piece of horseshoe-shaped precious metal which was literally tied to teeth to align them.*
Orthodontics became the first dental specialty in 1900
Edward H. Angle founded the specialty. He was the first orthodontist and first member of the dental profession to limit his practice to orthodontics only – moving teeth and aligning jaws. Angle established what is now the American Association of Orthodontists, which admits only orthodontists as members.
Gold was the metal of choice for braces circa 1900
Because gold is malleable, it stretches easily and was easy to shape into an orthodontic appliance. Consequently, patients had to see their orthodontist frequently for adjustments that kept treatment on track.
Teeth move in response to pressure over time
Some pressure is beneficial, however, some are harmful. Actions like thumb-sucking or swallowing in an abnormal way generate damaging pressure. Teeth can be pushed out of place and bone can be distorted.
Orthodontists use appliances like braces or aligners – such as Invisalign® – to apply a constant, gentle pressure on teeth to guide them into their ideal positions.
Teeth can move because bone breaks down and rebuilds
Cells called “osteoclasts” break down bone. “Osteoblast” cells rebuild bone. The process is called “bone remodelling.” A balanced diet helps support bone remodelling, so don’t forget to feed your bones!
Orthodontic treatment is a professional service
It’s not a commodity or a product. The type of “appliance” used to move teeth is nothing more than a tool in the hands of the expert. Each tool has its uses, but not every tool is right for every job. A saw and a paring knife both cut, but you wouldn’t use a saw to slice an apple.
A Partnership for Success
Orthodontic treatment is a partnership between the patient and the orthodontist. While the orthodontist provides the expertise, treatment plan and appliances to straighten teeth and align jaws, it’s the patient who’s the key to success.
The patient commits to following the orthodontist’s instructions on brushing and flossing, watching what he/she eats and drinks, and wearing rubber bands (if prescribed). Most importantly, the patient commits to keeping scheduled appointments with the orthodontist. Teeth and jaws can move in the right directions and on schedule when the patient takes an active part in their treatment.
Dr. Papandreas is ready to partner with you to align your teeth and jaws for a healthy, spectacular smile. A Certified Orthodontic Specialist© with ADA training to move teeth naturally and in harmony with the face, Dr Papandreas is Northeast Ohio’s top Invisalign® provider for children and adults. Schedule a complimentary consultation today!
Dr. Papandreas is a native of Cleveland. Born in Lyndhurst, the middle of five children, his parents moved to Lakewood where he attended Lakewood High School. Dr. Papandreas continued his education at Loyola University School of Dentistry, known as a leader nationally in clinical dentistry. He ranked #1 academically in his dental class for four consecutive years. In addition to the honor of Summa Cum Laude, he was awarded the Frank M. Amaturo Award for Highest GPA – Omicron Kappa Upsilon Fraternity, the Department of Dental Materials Scholastic Award, the Chicago Auxiliary Dental Society Scholarship Award for Highest Academic Achievement, and the Alpha Sigma Nu National Jesuit Honor Society Award for Academic Excellence.