The History and Process of Placing Children’s Braces

Posted on: May 19, 2016

Childrens BracesChildrens braces have become almost synonymous with a culture of straight teeth and beautiful smiles — and with very good reason, given how effective they have been in making sure children have brilliant smiles and grow up with perfectly straight teeth. You may be surprised to know that dental braces have a long and storied history. In 1728, the French dentist Pierre Fauchard is credited with creating the first set of braces. These have come far, and the braces that your children use today are a much more modern creation, which helps straighten the teeth by gradually moving them into place. While it is true that the man who invented childrens braces, also known as a surgeon dentist for his improved methods of straightening teeth, probably wouldn’t even recognize the devices we use today, it is also true that the basic principle we use to straighten teeth still holds true. While prices have gone down and braces have been advanced with modern technology, the basic science of moving teeth so that they are held in place and remain straight has not changed.

Interestingly, while many people are aware of braces and even more people have had them, not very many people know how braces actually work. Here is a very basic principle of how childrens braces function. When your child gets braces put in their mouth, it means the teeth are simply out of alignment, are pointing in the wrong direction, or more commonly, are not in the right placement. What braces do is put a consistent pressure on the tooth in the direction we want them to move. We can augment this with rubber bands and other technology to help put even more pressure on the tooth and guide it to the correct position, where it should have been from the beginning.

Children’s braces, like all braces, have four basic parts. The first are the brackets, which are typically made of ceramic or metal. The bracket is attached to each one of the teeth. Naturally, in order to attach the brackets to the teeth, we have to use a bonding material or metal band. This is the second part of braces. We also have a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket, which is how we put pressure on the teeth. This is known as an arch wire and can often be augmented with the help of springs or rubber bands to exert more force in a very specific direction. Braces are designed with the help of the arch wire and brackets to exert constant pressure over time, to move the teeth into their proper positioning. The final piece of the braces is known as the ligature elastic, or the "O-ring." This is a small piece of elastic that holds the bracket onto the arch. When you come in to have your children’s braces adjusted, it is the O-ring that is usually changed. With a little science, a little pressure, and time, we are able to use an extremely effective technique to give your child straighter, more beautiful teeth.

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