A Brief History

Orthodontics is a specialty within the field of dentistry for the treatment of patients with improper bites, technically called malocclusions. Malocclusions occur when a person's teeth come in at irregular angles or with irregular placement causing the teeth to be out of alignment, or when a person's upper and lower jaw are out of alignment causing an irregular bite.

Since the beginning of human history, human beings have understood at a very basic level that without a proper bite, survival is very difficult. If you can’t chew well, you can't eat well. Remains of the ancient Egyptians, Romans and the Etruscans show that these societies used various kinds of metal and 'wires' to straighten or adjust the teeth. During the Middle Ages, dentistry became the job of barbers, and they would perform teeth extractions and blood-letting. (We may never know for sure, but this might be why dentist's chairs and barbers chairs sometimes look alike.)

Many advances in dentistry and some pioneering efforts in teeth straightening began in the 18th century, but it was really in the 19th century that orthodontics became a science of its own. In 1858 the first article about orthodontics was published by Norman W. Kinsley. Studying irregularities is one thing; devising ways to treat them requires innovation, and the first dentist to determine that force on the teeth at specific intervals could cause the teeth to move was a man named J. N. Farrar.

The man given the most credit for pioneering modern orthodontics is Dr. Edward Angle. Dr. Angle developed a method for scientifically classifying, categorizing and identifying irregular bites. His malocclusion classifications, also known as the Angle Classifications are still used by dentists and orthodontists today to diagnose and treat patients. And even though methods for straightening teeth, like dental braces, have dramatically changed since the early 1900's, Dr. Angle’s classifications have stood the test of time.

Orthodontic braces aren't the end of the world; they're the beginning of a whole new smile. You don't have to be anxious about discomfort, self-conscious about huge metal bands in your mouth, or fearful about getting cavities when you seek the orthodontic expertise of Dr. Arleen Azar-Mehr serving Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Northridge, Mission Hills, Woodland Hills, and Santa Clarita. Call for an appointment at (818) 886-6666 or contact us online today.