Medical specialties are all very complicated because the human body is a very wonderful and complex thing. Every piece of the body almost has its own medical specialty that is completely focused on repairing or correcting it if it did not develop properly or is damaged in some way. The human mouth in itself is a very involved thing that involves bones, teeth, sensitive tissue and muscles that take years to understand the nuances of. An orthodontist is educated and trained to understand and identify a variety of issues that deal with teeth and the way that the jaw comes into alignment when in a closed position.
Ancient Egyptians took a shot at trying to fix spacing and alignment issues with teeth thousands of years ago. For their time, this was very advanced thinking and with the knowledge that they had they were able to fashion crude bands that they found a way to wrap around their individual teeth for alignment purposes. Years later, about 400 or 500 BC during the time that Hippocrates and Aristotle lived it was found in their works that they thought about teeth alignment. Then, right before the birth of Christ, there was more archeological evidence found of someone thought to be a roman emperor with gold wiring in their mouth.
Some very important people in the history of mankind have concerned themselves with the idea of straightening their teeth and those in prominent positions had resources to begin experimenting with the idea. Modern-day braces are a product of the 19th and 20th century after some crucial advances were made regarding metals and alloys. Precious metals like gold and silver were what the first set of braces were made out of and the system required that loops were fashioned around the base of individual teeth. It was not until the 1950s that stainless steel became the preferred orthodontic metal of choice and began being used routinely in orthodontic applications.
At the turn of the century Invisalign became available after some very important, high-tech advances were made in digital computer imaging and 3-D printing. This technology made it possible for a 3-D model of the interior of someone’s mouth to be rendered using specialized orthodontic software so that a 3-D printer could fabricate the images produced. At first, an image of a patient’s teeth as they are is rendered, then the software extrapolates the information and produces 8-12 more images that gradually move the patient’s smile into an aligned position. Each image is then fabricated with the use of a 3-D printer so a truly custom-fitted series of aligners can be worn for 2-3 weeks each in order to bring teen into alignment.
This is an especially popular teeth straightening method because for those whose orthodontists believe that they are good candidates for it are able to align their smiles without the use of braces. Braces for adults can take 3 or 4 years to bring teeth into perfect alignment but Invisalign can improve a smile in as little as 4 months for some people, and they are completely inconspicuous. The aligners fit perfectly around every surface of the patient’s teeth and are made of extremely thin, completely transparent plastic so the only evidence of them is when their high-gloss finish produces a reflection when they are exposed to bright light.
There were hundreds of adults who did not receive orthodontic treatment in the form of braces when they were kids that rejected the idea of getting braces once they got older but were delighted to hear about the possibilities that Invisalign braces presented. People should feel fortunate that there is always a way to fix their teeth if they feel uncomfortable about them, but the idea of wearing braces past a certain point of their lives is just unacceptable to many. Even with the bracket innovations made in the recent past that have made them more discreet because they are made out of clear plastic and ceramic was not enough for many adults to be open to the idea of correcting their teeth.
It should be noted that Invisalign is not for everyone because not everyone’s individual orthodontic situation is such that it can produce desirable results. There are various combinations of malocclusions that people have that make some form of braces necessary in order to bring their teeth and jaw into proper alignment. Regardless of the case, something can always be done by an orthodontist whether it is a kid or an adult, whether the solution is Invisalign or braces of some kind.