A Brief History Of Orthodontics

Orthodontics might seem like a relatively modern field of medicine but the desire for straighter teeth has been around since ancient times.  Even in ancient times, they were trying to invent devices to improve the position of teeth.  Here is a brief history of orthodontics.

Ancient Greece and Rome

The history of orthodontics starts back in ancient Greece and Rome.  Aristotle and Hippocrates had knocked around ideas for straightening teeth even as far back as 400 and 300 BC and archaeologists have proof that the Etruscan’s used appliances to maintain spaces and prevent collapse of teeth because they buried their dead wearing them.  Also, in a Roman tomb a dental device was found along with documentation on how it was used.

18th Century France

Pierre Fauchard, a French dentist in the 18th century who is considered the father of modern dentistry, wrote a book in 1728 about methods for straightening teeth.  He also was known to use a device called a ‘bandeau’ to widen the upper palate. A few years later in 1754 another dentist, Louis Bourdet published his own book where he suggested improvements to the bandeau.  He is also considered the first dentist to extract bicuspids to reduce tooth crowding.

19th Century

It wasn’t until the 19th century that orthodontics was defined as a separate dental specialty.  The term orthodontia was first used in 1841 by Joachim Lafoulon.  In 1819 the first wire crib was used.  Also materials like precious metals, steel, gum rubber and vulcanite were used to create loops, hooks, spurs and ligatures to straighten teeth.  In addition, the first elastics for braces were used by E.J. Tucker in 1850.

20th Century 

Edward Angle founded the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which was renamed the American Association of Orthodontists in the 1930’s.  Angle also developed the first classification system for malocclusion. By the 1960’s gold was a popular material for braces.  Before the 1970’s, braces were wrapped around the teeth, but by the mid-70’s orthodontists began directly adhering the brackets to the teeth.

Orthodontics Today

With all the advances in technology, the field of orthodontics has grown in leaps and bounds in the last twenty years.  We now have digital xrays and 3D dental imaging.  These produce better quality x-rays and allow orthodontists to get a more detailed look at the structure of the mouth.  Because they are digital, orthodontists can gain immediate access to the images.  Another plus is that there is less radiation exposure with these types of xrays.

There are many more options for braces today.  Metal braces adhered to the front of the teeth is still the most common treatment, but for people who are concerned about the braces being noticeable, there are other options like ceramic braces and clear aligners.

Metal Braces

  • Are permanently adhered to the teeth
  • The orthodontist changes the wires during treatment to help shift the teeth
  • There are certain food and drink restrictions
  • The average time for wearing braces is 2 years.
  • Most all bite and alignment issues can be treated by metal braces

Ceramic Braces

  • Are made of ceramic which blends into the color of your teeth so they are less noticeable
  • In most other ways, these braces are exactly like the metal ones.


  • Are clear plastic aligners that can be removed
  • The teeth can be brushed and flossed after removing the trays
  • Treatment includes a new set of aligners every two weeks as your teeth shift into alignment.
  • Invisalign can handle mostly simple alignment issues
  • Procedures may include attachments, or enamel-colored ridges that stick to your teeth like braces brackets. These attachments click into the Invisalign aligners to help the teeth move.

Why Choose Hage Orthodontics?

Dr. Hage knows what a big difference a straighter smile can make in a person’s life.  Not only does it help restore self-confidence, it makes it easier to practice proper oral hygiene so you have a healthy, beautiful smile for years to come.  The staff at Hage Orthodontics also understand that each person’s situation is different that’s why they take the time to sit down with you and go over all your options.  They will create the best plan for your particular needs.

Maintaining your oral health is important so everyone at Hage Orthodontics will work with you to come up with an affordable plan.  The staff is very compassionate and friendly and will always greet you with a smile.

Call Hage Orthodontics today for a free initial consultation.

Three Questions To Ask When Choosing An Orthodontist

Why do dentists give more than one referral card when it comes to sending you and your kids to an orthodontist? Do you really need more than one opinion? How do you choose between them?

Giving multiple referrals often causes confusion.  Most patients assume that because their dentist gave them more than one card, it really doesn’t matter which one they choose.  Rarely does the second orthodontist offer the same treatment plan as the first.  These conflicting treatment plans may then lead the patient to pursue a third opinion, further complicating their decision.

Orthodontists differ in training, experience, and in personality.  Some were trained to expand, others to remove teeth.  Some are fresh out of school and are overly optimistic about what can be accomplished.  Others have been at it much longer and tend to be pessimistic.  Some doctors are perfectionists while others will settle for less than perfect.  Some want what is best for the patient while others want what is best for their practice.  Regardless, orthodontists are individually different and the results they provide will not be the same.  When choosing an orthodontist for your family, consider asking the following three questions:

First, what treatment is the orthodontist proposing? How will the crowding be corrected? What about the overbite? Why does he want to start now while the doctor down the street wants to wait? How can he straighten all the teeth when baby teeth remain? How long will treatment take? Can he show you examples of other patients treated the same way? In other words, make sure you understand exactly what the doctor is proposing and why his plan is different.

Second,  if there is a big difference in fees, why? Are the treatment plans actually the same?  Do both fees include the same services (i.e. retainers, x-rays, etc.)

Third and most importantly, ask your family dentist if he was having his teeth straightened today, which orthodontist would he choose? Ask him who treated his children.  With these questions, you’ll get the best recommendation and save you the trouble of shopping around.

If you would like more information on how to choose an orthodontist, or if you would like to schedule a consultation at Hage Orthodontics, please contact us today.

Am I Too Old For Orthodontic Treatment?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself, “I sure wish I could’ve had braces when I was a kid”? You can’t go back in time, but you can still get the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve always wished for.  It’s not too late! Orthodontic treatment can be as successful for adults as it is for adolescents.  Don’t let your age keep you from consulting with an orthodontist.

Whether you’re 8 or 80, it’s the same physiological process that moves teeth through bone.  Adults have denser bone tissue than children, so treatment may take a little longer, but age does not keep teeth from moving.

Adults can have complicated cases for a variety of reasons.  They may have fillings, missing teeth, misshapen or worn teeth, or dental disease. This is just one reason it’s so important to be treated by an orthodontist. Dr. Hage had years of formal education in orthodontics after graduating from dental school.  Therefore, he has the education and expertise you need to manage your orthodontic care and reach your best possible result.

To move your teeth to their ideal positions, Dr. Hage will use an appliance, braces or aligners, to deliver controlled forces that gently and predictably reposition teeth. There has been a revolution in orthodontic appliances — much of it driven by adults who want to straighten their teeth, but want to be inconspicuous about their treatment.  Today’s options include tooth-colored braces, tiny but more traditional metal braces, braces that go behind the teeth, gold braces and braces that aren’t braces at all.  Not every type of appliance is suitable for correction of every kind of orthodontic problem.  This is another reason to make sure you are being treated by an orthodontist.  They have access to the full range of appliances and more than anyone else in the dental profession, orthodontists know which appliance is right for an individual patient’s care.

Treatment lasts an average of 22 months.  During that time, your visits are scheduled about every six to eight weeks.  It’s a comparatively small investment of time that pays big dividends in improved dental health, better function (biting, chewing), the ability to easily clean your teeth and higher self confidence.

It’s so heartwarming to witness the first time an adult patient sees his/her new smile. The only regret expressed is that the step was not taken sooner.  The opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile has not passed you by.  You don’t have to spend the rest of your life hiding your smile.  Just because you didn’t have orthodontic treatment when you were a youngster doesn’t prevent you from doing something about it now.  Your age doesn’t matter.  You can have the smile you’ve always wanted.  It starts with a consultation with Dr. Hage!




7 Myths About Orthodontic Treatment

Hage Orthodontics wants to set the record straight on seven common myths about orthodontic treatment.


Myth #1:  Anyone who provides braces or aligners is an orthodontist.

FALSE. While some general dentists or online companies offer braces or aligners, only an orthodontist who has taken additional years of advanced training at an accredited residency can call themselves an orthodontic specialist.  It is not worth the risk of permanent damage to your smile to allow anyone who isn’t an orthodontist to attempt to move your teeth.  By selecting Hage Orthodontics, you are choosing a specialist who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile.

Myth #2: Orthodontists are so expensive. 

Orthodontists are unique health care providers who carefully customize their patients’ treatment plans and as a result, their fees directly reflect the complexity of each case.  From simple cases which only take months to treat, to very difficult ones which may take a couple of years, the benefits of having an expert provide your orthodontic care will be well worth it.  Hage Orthodontics offers free consultations and flexible payment plans.  We are willing to work with our patients in order to help them achieve a beautiful smile. Trust your smile to Dr. Hage. He will safely straighten your teeth and closely monitor your progress to ensure that your bite is the best that it can be.

Myth #3: Regular office visits are not necessary to get straight teeth.

No Visits = No Monitoring = No Good

The reality is that the health of your gums, teeth and jaws cannot be monitored during treatment if you are never seen by a qualified orthodontist.  Even the most carefully planned treatments need to be closely monitored to ensure that your treatment stays on course.  These visits must be completed by a trained orthodontist should a problem arise or a mid-course treatment correction be needed.  The good news is that today’s technology has allowed patients to extend intervals between appointments to as long at 8 to 10 weeks.

Myth #4: Orthodontic treatment takes several years.

Orthodontic treatment requires careful, controlled movements of the teeth to ensure they are moving into proper positions. From simple cases (which may only take a few months to treat) to the most complex cases (which could take much longer), Dr. Hage has the training, experience and skill to deliver an excellent result in the shortest amount of time. It’s not worth the risk to have someone who attempts to do orthodontics as a side business because of the possible irreversible damage that could occur.

Myth #5: Orthodontic treatment is purely cosmetic.

There’s much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye.  An improved appearance is the most obvious result.  But when the teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means function (biting, chewing, speaking) is improved too.  It’s dual treatment benefit!

That beautiful smile is the outward sign of good oral health, and sets the stage for the patient’s overall well-being.  Orthodontists  play a larger role in healthcare than is generally realized.

Myth #6: Orthodontists only offer metal braces.

Orthodontists spend years of study and training in how teeth move.  It makes them expertly qualified to us the tools available to provide the best care possible for their patients.  That includes metal braces, as well as a full range of other appliances (devices designed to move teeth) that can be fixed or removable, with clear options included. Rather than pressuring a patient into using a particular product or service offered by individual companies, orthodontists are craftsmen with a variety of tools at their fingertips.  Dr. Hage has the expertise to provide the best appliance (at the right time) to achieve the best result in the most timely manner.

Myth #7: Orthodontic treatment is only for kids.

False.  Patients of all ages, young and old, can benefit from orthodontic treatment.  Age is not a concern when it comes to getting a healthy, beautiful smile.  In 2014, close to 1.5 million adults were treated by orthodontists.  Because adults may have more complicated cases from prior dental work or gum disease, it is imperative that their treatment be provided by an orthodontist who has the training, and experience to deliver the best results.

Lastly, the only doctors that can call themselves “orthodontists’ have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.




Have Braces? Never Leave Home Without These 5 Things

If you’ve ever had braces, or been a parent of someone who has, you know braces will transform your smile. You also probably know there can be bumps along the path to that perfectly aligned smile.  From that post-adjustment period, poking wires and broken brackets, having braces isn’t always sunshine and roses. Luckily, we’ve been down this road before, so we’ll help you create your very own braces survival kit.

In order to help you be prepared for whatever may happen while you’re wearing braces, make sure you have these 5 things with you.  It’s important to make sure you have a good guide for techniques to follow in case of minor orthodontic emergencies.


Orthodontic wax is designed to stick to the metal or ceramic parts of your braces. Wax can help shield sensitive areas of your mouth as you get used to having braces or cover a wire that is poking you.  It can also keep a loose bracket from wiggling too much until you can get to the office for a fix up.  To use it, pull off a small piece of wax, roll it up to soften it, then place it over the bracket or wire.   If you need more wax, let us know at your appointment and we’ll give you an ample supply.


Tweezers (clean and sterile) are a must-have in any orthodontic survival kit.  Tweezers can be used to move, push, bend and slide wires into place.  Different shaped tweezers can do different things, so be sure to keep a variety on hand.


If you aren’t able to push, bend or pull a wire back into place using tweezers, you may need to clip the wire if it is causing too much discomfort. The easiest way to do this is to use a pair of nail clippers or a cuticle nipper.  If you can’t see what you’re doing, ask for help.  Most school nurses’ offices are prepared for minor orthodontic emergencies.  Note: make sure the tools are clean, sterile and kept only for the purposes of your orthodontic survival kit!


This may sound obvious, but when you have braces, you’ll never want to leave home without an easy way to floss your teeth. The orthodontic floss picks are portable, easy to use with one hand and don’t require threading. They are specially shaped to fit under an archwire.  You can keep them in a bag, glove box, pocket or anywhere. A floss pick plus a good swish of water can help if you are offered an unexpected snack and do not have a toothbrush handy.


The hours or even days after an orthodontic adjustment can be uncomfortable.  Having a dose of parent-approved over the counter pain reliever is a great idea.  If you are experiencing pain or discomfort that does not go away with a regular dose of OTC pain reliever like Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen, it’s a good idea to speak with your orthodontist or doctor.  Otherwise, a quick pain relief method is just what you need to get your mind off your mouth.

When you get your braces on at Hage Orthodontics, we give you a little bag of orthodontic goodies. You can use this as a place to keep your survival kit.

Do you have braces or have had them in the past?  What did you keep in your survival kit? We’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions in the comments.

Thumb Sucking Solutions


Many parents ask Dr. Hage about their children’s thumb or finger sucking behavior.


Between the ages of two and four, most children stop sucking their thumbs on their own.  It tapers off naturally as children become more active and use their hands for other activities.  Children entering school or play groups may feel peer pressure to stop placing their fingers in their mouth.  However, if your child continues this behavior after the age of four, you should take corrective action as it can cause damage that may require extensive orthodontic treatment to correct.

There are a number of factors that will determine the extent of problems that will result from thumb or finger sucking. The first factor is the intensity of the thumb sucking.  If your child sucks passively, resting the thumb or finger inside the mouth, it is less likely to cause problems.  On the other hand,  if he or she sucks intensely and creates a significant amount of pressure in the mouth, it can lead to problems with tooth alignment and jaw growth.  The second factor is the amount of time your child spends engaging in this activity.  If it is consistent, especially during the day, it is more problematic.

Depending on these factors, there are a number of common problems that result from regular thumb/finger sucking once permanent teeth emerge.  If you see any of the following signs you should schedule a free consultation with Dr. Hage.

  • An overbite, which means the upper front teeth protrude.
  • An open bite, which means there is an opening between the upper and lower front teeth when the back teeth are biting together.
  • A crossbite, which means there is an underdeveloped upper jaw which causes the lower jaw to shift to one side.
  • A recessive or weak chin.  This means the lower jaw is not developing properly.
  • Speech or chewing difficulties may also occur in more pronounced cases.


There is a widespread agreement that a positive approach is the best way to overcome this habit.  It will allow your child to build confidence and take pride in their accomplishment.  A negative approach will unlikely work and may even worsen the situation.  Even so, you should gently explain the consequences.  Here are some suggestions that you can implement, on your own to help your child.

  • Painting or smearing a bad tasting substance, such as Mavala on the thumb or finger.  It stops the habit very quickly in most children.
  • If you notice your child engaging in the habit because they are tired or hungry, try to resolve the particular situation rather than focusing on the thumb sucking behavior.
  • Take note of the particular times your child tends to thumb suck.  Such as riding in the car or watching television and then attempt to create distractions during this time.
  • If the the finger or thumb sucking occurs primarily when the child is engaged in a secondary habit, such as holding a security blanket or stuffed animal or twirling hair, it is a good idea to correct both habits at the same time. If you get control of the secondary habit, often times the thumb sucking will stop or greatly reduce on its own.
  • Start a progress chart and have your child place a sticker on the chart each day he/she is successful at avoiding their thumb/finger. Explain that if they go for an extended period of time without the habit, they will be able to choose a prize from a list you create together.
  • Place a bandage around your child’s finger or a sock on their hand at night.  Just let them know this is not a punishment, but rather a method to help them avoid the thumb/finger habit.


If none of the above solutions help and your child’s permanent teeth begin to emerge, it may be time to seek the help of an orthodontist.  One common solution is a device called a “fixed palatal crib”.  Also referred to as a tongue crib.  It is essentially a small appliance that is placed on the upper teeth and the roof of the mouth.  It is almost invisible to outside observers. The crib is very effective and usually stops the thumb/finger habit very quickly because it removes the enjoyment.  The crib prevents the thumb or finger from touching the gums behind the front teeth.  Try to remember your child likely gets a substantial amount of comfort and security from this behavior so he is likely to be restless, unhappy and uncomfortable after the crib is inserted.  You can alleviate this by providing the child with extra affection and attention while he adjusts to the new orthodontic appliance.

If you feel your child needs orthodontic help with his thumb/finger habit, you should call for a free consultation with Dr. Hage.