The practice of orthodontics has quite a history. There is historical evidence stretching back to 1000 BC that shows people found various ways to straighten their teeth. Archeologists tell us that the ancient Etruscans used a type of mouthguard for the recently deceased to prevent the corpse’s teeth from collapsing inward. This was part of a death ceremony. (Guess you gotta look good in the afterlife.)
It was the successors to the Etruscans, the Romans, who thought there was something worthwhile in tooth straightening if you applied it to the living. Aulus Cornelius Celsus documented his attempts to straighten teeth with the force of his own hand, applying pressure at certain points in his “patients’” mouths. No one has confirmed Celsus’ claims, but archeologists have found Roman burial sites with human remains featuring a small gold wire on the teeth, or what is left of them. Theories suggest the wire, known as a ligature wire, was used to produce a similar effect to what Celsus documented. Probably the first dental braces that deserve that name were developed by the ancient Egyptians. Luckily, we have come a long way since Egyptian practitioners attached metal braces to animal skin in their quest to straighten teeth.
Like many things in the years before and into the Middle Ages, orthodontics took a back seat to general survival and making war. Dentistry does make itself known at some point in the Middle Ages as barbers took on the trade. However, historical records show that their primary dental instrument was a sharp knife that was used to pry out broken or diseased teeth—a pretty good example of the cure being worse than the disease. The world had to wait a few centuries before dentistry took on any semblance of what one might call “modern.”
The French not only knew something about wine, but they were instrumental in making advances in dental care. In the 1700s, they developed techniques such as custom mouthguards and the removal of wisdom teeth to manage overcrowding in the mouth. But in 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre really cemented France’s place in dental history with his invention of braces that were the forerunner of what we see today. He developed a woven wire device, called a crib, that fit over the upper and lower teeth and was worn for a certain period of time, slowly moving the teeth into their proper position. If that sounds like what an orthodontist does today, you are right.
Luckily for all of us, modern orthodontics and the use of braces in Japan—and around the world—have come a long way since animal skins and gold wire. Not only are today’s braces technologically awesome, but patients have numerous kinds to choose from. And if you think of braces as those bright, shiny silver cages come to mind…well, that is so 90s.
Types of Braces Available at Hitomi Dental Office
Today all of our patients at Hitomi Dental Office’s Tokyo locations can select braces based on material, design, length of time to realign teeth, or a combination of features. Our English-speaking dentists and orthodontists can help you choose exactly the right braces to meet your needs.
Metal braces are still used today. They are effective and usually more affordable than other materials. They come in various colors, so they are not as obvious as the shiny silver ones we mentioned earlier. Therefore, they are a practical choice for the patient who is looking for good value.
Ceramic braces have similar size and shape characteristics as metal braces, but are made with a ceramic material that closely matches the color of your teeth, so they are not as noticeable. Ceramic braces are just as effective as metal braces, which make them a more favorable choice for those concerned about how their braces will look, as well as how effective they are in renewing their smile.
Invisalign is one of our most popular choices for patients at Hitomi Dental Office. Invisalign does not involve brackets or wires; instead, it uses a series of custom-made clear plastic aligners that are worn over the teeth. Aligners are swapped out for new ones based on an individual patient’s needs. Each aligner basically takes over where the previous one left off and moves the patient’s teeth to the next position, from which the next aligner continues the straightening process. The number and schedule of aligners are all mapped out based on the needs of each patient.
At Hitomi Dental Office we realize that deciding on getting braces while in Tokyo, no matter the type, is a big decision. Braces are not cheap, but we believe we have developed a pricing structure that can meet the needs of most patients, no matter what option they choose. Whether you want braces that correct your teeth’s alignment quickly, braces that are not as noticeable, or braces at a reasonable price, Hitomi Dental Office can meet your needs. Why? Because like you, we want you to get your smile back. It’s that simple.
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