We live in a wonderful world when it comes to dental hygiene. Products like WildSmileBraces and orthodontia in general have made miracles an everyday occurrence … but it wasn’t that long ago that dentists would try almost anything to help their patients. And some of it was pretty crazy.
Way back in the middle ages, tooth pain was supposed to come from “tooth worms” or from imbalances in the humors. Back in the day, healers tries bloodletting and, of course, public and very theatrical tooth extractions, frequently from the back of medicine-show wagon. y, a person could set up shop in a local market or public square. The trend continued for several centuries; James Wynbrandt, in The Excruciating History of Dentistry, notes that there were around 100 working dentists in the United States in 1825, but more than 1,200 by 1840. Not because teeth got worse, but because of a financial panic in 1837 that led to many of the nation’s newly unemployed mechanics and manual laborers turning to tooth extraction.
Over the years, dentures have been made from a wild variety of materials, including hippopotamus ivory, walrus tusk, and cow teeth. Back in the 1700’s, Pierre Fauchard, the French physician sometimes described as the “father of modern dentistry,” was the first to anchor dentures in the molars. He also developed the first orthodontic appliance, the bandeau, a metallic band meant to expand a person’s dental arch, without necessarily straightening each tooth.
For most of Western civilization, straight teeth and good smiles have been the exclusive realm of the rich and privileged. In fact, as late as the mid-twentieth century, dentists themselves insisted that crooked teeth were hereditary, and that people who suffered from it were “neurotics, idiots, degenerates, or lunatics.”
Today, everyone has access to the experience and technologies that make great smiles available to everyone, whether that means WildSmile Braces or simply good dental care.