Once upon a time, the stigma surrounding having a ‘metal mouth’ was widespread and many adults put off having the treatment they needed, reluctant for their appearance to change. Today, metal brace models have undergone the cosmetic makeover they were so desperately in need of and are much more in-line with the expectations of the modern working professional.
Braces – now and then
The first metal braces date back to 1728 when French dentist Pierre Fauchard fashioned a very basic example of the braces that exist today. It was not until the mid-1970s that dentists worked out how to fix brackets to the front of a patient’s teeth and lingual brace models, where the brackets sit on the tongue side of the teeth, did not emerge until the mid-1980s.
Metal braces of the mid-80s through the end of the 90s were characterised by large, uncomfortable brackets that often caused scratching in the mouth throughout the treatment period. Today, brackets are much smaller and less invasive.
Other significant developments where metal braces are concerned include NASA’s invention of heat-activated nickel-titanium alloy wires. These wires warm to body temperature, becoming active and in turn, move the teeth into the desired position. Requiring less attention from the orthodontist, nickel titanium wires mean less discomfort and shorter treatment times.
The impact of today’s metal braces
The stigma surrounding braces has almost completely evaporated in the past decade and many adults are more willing to undergo treatment. In fact, today 1 in 5 patients undergoing orthodontic treatment is an adult. As well as having the option of less invasive traditional metal braces, an ‘invisible’ fixed metal brace is now an option for patients. Ceramic braces use the same mechanics as their metal counterparts but incorporate an aesthetic design characterised by translucent brackets and arch wires matched to fit in with the shade of your teeth. These type of braces are suited to mild-to-moderate complications such as crowding and spacing issues and focus on the teeth known as the ‘social six’ – the ones that are most visible when you smile. If you’ve got a special occasion around the corner and wish for your smile to look its best, these types of braces can tackle issues in as few as six months.
If you would like to book an appointment with us you can use our hassle-free booking form. Alternatively, give us a call and our friendly team will be happy to arrange this for you at your convenience. Our practice is easily accessible, being less than a 10-minute walk from Deptford Bridge DLR and a short walk from numerous bus stops.