For many years, getting metal braces was the most popular dental realignment option on the market. Options like clear aligners and ceramic braces were not popularized, or not even available. Now that food labs can screen for ingredients at 0.1% and lower, fewer people need dental care for highly sugary foods. But with new technologies, more dental and orthodontic procedures are available. So when did that change?
The History of Braces
The first time that braces (or a form of them) were used was in 1819, according to Orthodontics Limited. Gum elastics soon followed that development in the 19th century, which is a staple in traditional braces still used today. When you get to the 20th century, you start to see some real developments in construction and style of braces.
Starting in the 1970s, gold was used as the metal for braces. Before that, braces were fully wrapped around the teeth. The 70s introduced the adherence of metal brackets to the teeth, a practice still used today. Lingual braces were also introduced, and they adhere to the back of teeth. It is also in the 20th century that products were being shipped and moved across the globe at a fast rate. Now, goods are moved along the transportation network in almost 12 million locomotives, trucks, rail cars, and vessels. This allows all industries to create more products faster.
Innovation was important to dentists, orthodontists, and patients. Many people did not want their braces to be seen, and that is another fact that sticks true today. In the 70s, headgear and other bulky equipment were eliminated to appease that part of the population. This step helped people stop being afraid of having their teeth fixed. This innovation was only pushed further in the 90s.
Orthodontics in the 90s
It was in the 90s that Invisalign was born. Of all the innovations seen since the beginning of braces technology, this was the most unique. And the least visible. Braces were still the most popular in the 90s, with pop stars starting trends by wearing their favorite color rubber bands. They were also the most accessible and well-tested orthodontic treatment at the time, and more popular among parents. This was popularized among school kids who wanted to have their braces to display their favorite colors. Though aligners are more popular now, having colorful braces was a fun style choice that kids could make for themselves.
Kids are not the only people who need braces, though. Many adults were unable to get braces when they were children, or their teeth shifted after their adolescence. Even some kids and teenagers desire to hide their tooth misalignment gear. Whatever the reason, the 90s brought in a new way to straighten your teeth. Invisalign offers clear aligners that straighten teeth over several months. You are also able to eat anything as long as your teeth are properly cleaned out before replacing your aligners. This is a major plus to teens, 47% of whom reported that they had improved self-esteem during Invisalign use versus just 22% of teens with braces.
Now, all different kinds of orthodontic treatments are available for those who need them. Traditional braces are often more cost-effective, and can still make your smile shine. Invisalign and lingual braces are there for those who want to hide their tooth realignment process. The major changes to how we treat teeth came during the 90s and early 2000s, but since then, not much has changed. Check out old photos of stars like Emma Watson, Gwen Stefani, and Dakota Fanning to see examples of 90s braces.