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The Evolution of Braces

January 24th, 2017

Today, it is so common for us to see people wearing orthodontic braces that we hardly take notice. Over time, the science of orthodontics has advanced considerably, making the braces worn today by children, teens, and adults rather inconspicuous, comfortable and highly effective.

Most people would be surprised to learn that orthodontic braces date way back to ancient times and are not a product of modern society designed for people who wish to improve their smiles by straightening their teeth. According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), primitive metal bands have been found wrapped around the teeth of mummies. Later in time around 400 to 500 BC, both Aristotle and Hippocrates thought of different methods that could be used to make teeth straighter.

Progress Made During 18th and 19th Centuries

Despite of this proof of early braces and experimentation done to help straighten teeth, it wasn't until the 1700s that the practice of orthodontics truly began to progress. In 1728, a French dentist named Pierre Fauchard published a book, which covered methods that could be used to straighten teeth. Later in the early 1800s, Christophe-Francois Delabarre, another French dentist was the first person credited with using a wearable horseshoe-shaped wire crib device that was designed to straighten teeth. As time marched on, the art of orthodontics slowly improved wherein by the 1900s, dentists were using a combination of metal bands wrapped around individual teeth and tension wires to straighten teeth.

The Rise of American Orthodontics

In the early 20th Century, American dentist Edward Angle devised the first simpleclassification system for malocclusions, which is still being used by orthodontists today. This system (Class I, Class II and so on) was a way for dentists to describe how crooked teeth are, the way they are pointing and how the teeth fit together. Angle is credited with significantly improving the design of orthodontic appliances as he incorporated many simple design concepts.

The Dawn of the Metal Mouth

During the early 20th century, dentists were using gold, silver, steel, platinum, gum rubber and vulcanite for loops, hooks, spurs and ligatures. It was common in the early 1900s to use 18-karat gold for wires, bands, ligatures and spurs because gold is soft and easy to shape. However, because gold is soft, it did have it shortcomings in orthodontics as it required frequent adjustments and was rather costly, even back then. In short, the original “metal mouth” was actual gold, which is truly bling-worthy!

It wasn't until the 1950s when stainless steel began to replace gold and silver when making braces as stainless steel was widely available and much cheaper than gold or silver. Orthodontists did not know how to adhere brackets onto the front of the teeth until the middle of the 1970s and they did not start moving brackets to the backside of the teeth until the mid-80s.

Braces in Today’s World

Today, modern metal braces are made of high-grade stainless steel and they are smaller, more comfortable, more attractive and more effective than the metal braces used years ago. Nowadays, orthodontists including our own Golden, CO orthodontist, Dr. Amy Shearer, offer several types of braces including clear braces made of ceramic material, self-ligating braces that utilize a “sliding door” technology, and clear plastic aligners which are used to discreetly move teeth into the desired position.

The world of orthodontics has definitely come far which is something we all can smile about!

Back To School With Braces

August 15th, 2016

Now that fall is here, many of the patients we serve at Canyon Point Orthodontic are back in school for the 2016-17 academic year. Making the transition back into the day-to-day routine of going to school can be challenging. If you're heading back to school with braces for the first time, we want that transition to go smoothly! Therefore, Dr. Shearer and her crew put together a few helpful tips for all our school-aged patients who are heading back to the classroom this fall.

Carry A Braces Care Kit With You


It's a great idea to take a braces care kit along with you to school that you can keep in your backpack or locker. Hopefully you still have the packet Canyon Point Orthodontics provided at your first banding appointment, but if not, just use a small zippered pouch or something similar that has a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental wax and extra elastics (if you use them) inside. Then after lunch, you can slip into the bathroom to brush and floss your teeth. The dental wax can be used if a wire or bracket is irritating the inside of your mouth. Simply place a small bit of wax onto the irritating piece for relief. If something does become loose or broken on your braces, contact us right away instead of waiting until your next appointment.

Eat Smart!

At your first braces appointment, we told you that it's important to steer clear of hard, crunchy, gooey and sticky foods as these are the types of foods that can damage or break your braces. Remember to avoid eating these foods while in school too. So instead of reaching for that candy bar at break time, choose something else instead that won't harm your braces like yogurt or applesauce.

If you carry your lunch, be sure everything you take along with you is braces-friendly. You can still take sandwiches as long as you cut them into small, bite-sized pieces. Soft fruits are great, like bananas and oranges as are softer vegetables like cucumbers and peppers.

Drink Plenty of Water

Take a water bottle with you to school so you can drink water throughout the day. This will help keep your mouth clean by rinsing away food particles that become lodged in your braces after eating. Drinking plenty of water will also help neutralize the acids in your mouth to help keep your teeth healthy.

Wear a Mouthguard while Playing Sports

It's important to wear a mouthguard when playing sports as it will protect your teeth and jaws against injury and provide protection to your braces. A mouthguard should be worn whenever you're playing a sport or when you're partaking in any physical activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth. There are special mouthguards made specifically for people wearing braces that you can find easily online. Just be sure the mouthguard you choose fits well and makes it easy for you to speak and breathe.

Contact Us For Braces & Invisalign In Golden, CO

Dr. Shearer and her Canyon Point Crew wish all our school-aged patients good luck in the new school year! Canyon Point Orthodontics offers a wide range of orthodontic services to ensure we can meet the needs of every patient we serve. Whether you're interested in traditional braces or are want to find out if Invisalign clear aligners are right for you, you can rest assured we have the ideal solution for you! If you have further questions, contact us today and our friendly staff will be happy to help. To schedule an appointment with us, give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you!

8 Fun Fact About Orthodontics

May 2nd, 2016

Improving our smiles might be serious business, but it can be A LOT of fun – and interesting to boot!

In this month’s blog, check out some interesting facts about orthodontics.

THAT’S NASA IN YOUR MOUTH

The nickel titanium in some braces wire was developed by NASA with shape memory properties (meaning it keeps its shape) that are activated by body heat and/or pressure.

BRACES GO WAY BACK

The first braces were designed in 1728, consisting of a flat piece of metal connected to the teeth by thread. Orthodontic brackets were invented in 1915.

THIS IS SERIOUS SCIENCE

Some bonding agents used to attach brackets to your teeth include a fluoride-releasing substance.

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY DENTISTS

100% of all orthodontists are dentists. About 6% of all dentists are orthodontists.

PREACHING TO THE CHOIR?

Not us, we just care about you. Did you know nearly 25% of orthodontic patients have to get braces again because they didn’t wear their retainers?!

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD

Adults want straight teeth too! In fact, MILLIONS of people over age 18 are currently in orthodontic treatment.

BREEZING THROUGH SECURITY

Braces are not magnetic. Braces don’t set off metal detectors. Braces don’t pick up radio transmissions. Braces don’t increase your odds of being hit by lightning.

THAT’S SO HOLLYWOOD

Check out this list of celebs who were in traditional or Invisalign orthodontic treatment: Emma Watson, Tom Cruise, Katy Perry, Prince Harry, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani, Drew Barrymore, Dakota Fanning, and more!

If you are in the market to improve your smile, we hope you choose Canyon Point Orthodontics. Give us a call at (303) 215-9949 to schedule a free consultation!

I Was Told I Wasn't A Candidate For Invisalign!

April 13th, 2016

If you have been told that you are not a candidate for Invisalign, even after asking for this treatment option, then you should get a second opinion.  This should be from an orthodontist who has a significant amount of experience with Invisalign, like Dr. Shearer.  The reason is simple: many cases can, in fact, be treated with Invisalign.

So why are patients still being told that they can’t use Invisalign and must instead wear full braces for their entire treatment?  The most likely reason is that many orthodontists simply lack experience with Invisalign.  Invisalign was developed in the late 1990’s and was not readily available and in use until the early 2000’s.  Thus there are thousands of orthodontists out there with many years of experience using braces, but Invisalign is still relatively new to many of them.  Due to this lack of experience with Invisalign, many orthodontists believe full braces are easier to use and better for the patient in the long run.

The reality is that this simply is not true.  Teeth can be moved effectively with either braces or Invisalign aligners.  The main difference is that braces can both “push” and “pull” teeth by means of the archwires that run through them.  This is because the braces are firmly attached to the teeth.  Invisalign aligners on the other hand can “push” teeth quite effectively, but since they are removable appliances, there isn’t the ability to ”pull” teeth into their desired positions.  This can create some limitations with Invisalign when there are more complex tooth movements involved.

However, orthodontists have the ability to mix and match when it comes to the more difficult cases.  Braces can certainly be placed on some teeth for a relatively short period of time to achieve the more difficult movements, and then the patient can be switched over to Invisalign to complete their treatment.  We have done this in our practice for a few cases and found that our patients are happier to wear braces on a few teeth for a few months and Invisalign aligners the rest of the time, as opposed to wearing braces for the full period of treatment.

Finally, it’s important to note that Invisalign may not be for everyone.  It is an orthodontic treatment modality that is compliance driven and obviously the aligners must be worn consistently as instructed by the orthodontist to achieve the desired results.  Therefore, the only patients that should not be treated with Invisalign are those who question their ability to wear the aligners 20 to 22 hours every day.

Remember, if you are interested in orthodontic treatment and you’re motivated to get that great smile that you’ve always wanted, Invisalign may very well be an option for you.

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