We’re pretty sure you’ve been looking for new ways to amaze your friends and family with your extensive and obscure knowledge of orthodontics. So, we thought we’d help out and bring you some crazy facts about orthodontics. They’re sure to wow everyone you’re hanging out with.
And, if you’re really into oral-related trivia, be sure to also check out our posts with interesting facts about human teeth, facts about human tongues, and facts about human mouths.
Fun Facts About Orthodontic Care
- Orthodontics dates back to ancient Egypt. One of the coolest facts about orthodontics is that we’ve found braces on mummies dating back to the times of ancient Egypt (5000 – 3000 BCE). They were made out of corded animal skin and used much like orthodontists use wires on braces today.
- The word “orthodontist” comes from the Greek for “straight tooth.” The profession takes its name from the Greek words “ortho,” which means “straight” or “correct,” and “dont,” which means tooth.
- Orthodontics became a medical specialty in the early 20th century. Although mummies wear braces and we know the ancient Etruscans were performing orthodontic procedures as far back as circa 1000 BCE, modern orthodontics is generally considered to have started in the early 1900s. Edward H. Angle (1855-1930) is regarded as the father of modern orthodontic care. He defined certain tooth alignment problems, invented the first expanders and modern braces, pioneered some of the field’s surgical procedures, and taught orthodontics techniques.
- The original modern braces were made out of gold. It’s malleable enough that it’s easy to mold into dental devices. But the downside of this is that patients needed very frequent adjustments.
- Today’s braces are often made out of a metal created by NASA. Many traditional metal braces used today are made of nickel-titanium. It’s also highly malleable, and it has shape memory (it returns to its original shape at a certain activation temperature). These are useful properties for making dental hardware.
- All orthodontists are dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. Dentists specialize in the prevention and treatment of tooth decay and oral disease; orthodontists specialize in the treatment of tooth misalignment problems. Only around 5% of dentists are also certified as orthodontists.
- It takes about 10 years to become an orthodontist. The path to this great career involves 4 years of undergrad school, 4 years of dental school, and then 2 more years obtaining an orthodontics certification. Of course, like many other professional specialties, it also requires a certain amount of continuing education credits for as long as you’re in practice.