Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), braces aren't a new invention.

For thousands of years, humans have had methods of straightening teeth. Although these methods were often painful and ineffective, the brace is a tried and tested dental technique.

Whether for vanity or medical necessity, people have been using braces to straighten their teeth for thousands of years. Take a look below at our teeth straightening timeline!

Ancient Egyptians

When archaeologists were examining mummies from Ancient Egypt, they found that many had cord wrapped around or running along their teeth. This cord was made from animal intestines (catgut) and researchers believe that it was done with the purpose of closing gaps in teeth, like wire in modern orthodontics.

Ancient Greeks

The ancient Greeks are considered to have created the first dental ‘bridge’. Researchers discovered that burial rituals included the placement of a mouth guard-like device into the deceased’s mouth. Bridges were made from pure gold and were only worn by women, showing that dental vanity has always been an important concern!


When some Roman tombs were opened by archaeologists, it was discovered that gold wire had been used as an early orthodontic device. The small gold wire, also known as a ligature wire, was used to fix an arch wire to the bracket. Researchers found that wire was bound to teeth in an effort to force the teeth to move and to close gaps in teeth.

19th Century

1819 - Christophe-Francois Delabarre invented the very first wire crib. It was a half-circle device that can be placed on the teeth and it was a very early model of the dental brace.

1843 - Dr Edward Maynard first used gum elastics to correct improper jaw alignment. His technique enabled the jaw to be aligned correctly slowly with the pressure from the wire.

1894 - Eugene S Talbot was the first dentist to use X-rays during orthodontic procedures. Using X-rays enabled dentists to get a completely accurate picture of what was happening with their patient's teeth.

20th Century

Braces continued to be improved throughout the 20th Century, with medicine and dentistry taking huge strides forward in just a matter of decades. A larger range of colours, styles and metals became available to suit all patients.

1980s - Invisible braces were developed in conjunction with NASA in the 1980s. Invisible braces have been available to patients ever since they were first introduced in 1987.


There’s no longer any need to have fixed, metal braces. You can have convenient, custom-made invisible aligners that are just as effective as traditional braces! Don’t change your lifestyle, just change your smile. Find out more about Invisalign, the innovative invisible aligner system, here.

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