A pictorial history of orthodontics, 1915-2014

As part of the Centennial Celebration of the AJO-DO , approximately 2500 images published in the Journal between 1915 and 2001 have now been identified, scanned, and cataloged. These images are indicative of the issues pertinent to the rich history of orthodontics, as seen in the Journal .

These images were collected so that they could be used in 2 video projects.

The first video, which we previewed at the AJO-DO booth during the Annual Session, features company advertisements that appeared in the Journal during the last 100 years and shows the advances made in orthodontic technology and services. It is presented chronologically, without narration but accompanied by period music. In addition to its historical meaning, this effort is intended to salute the companies that have supported the development of the specialty of orthodontics over the past century. Readers have already seen some of the nostalgia advertisements, tucked away in the “white spaces” at the end of some articles published this year; these old advertisements were chosen based on interest and because the companies promoted in the ads are no longer in business. In addition, we ran “facing page” advertisements in the Supplements published this year. Some of our current advertisers have been supporting the Journal with their ads for 30, 40, or 50 years or more, and we were able to match up a few of our current advertisers with ads they ran in the past.

This company advertisement video is now available on the AJO-DO Web site and through the AAO library Web site. When you view it, you will want to keep several things in mind. First, this is not an exhaustive catalog of every advertisement that ever ran in the Journal . In fact, some old ads were purposely excluded from our nostalgia ad program and video. This was not an attempt to sanitize our history, but rather reflects changes in policy, law, and sensitivities that have evolved over time. For example, one advertisement we chose not to use showed the famous actress Jean Harlow touting the benefits of smoking a certain brand of cigarettes. Another showed a person smoking a cigarette while contemplating whether to buy United States Savings Bonds. Under current AJO-DO policy, no advertisements can be shown that involve tobacco products.

Furthermore, a few advertisements featured symbols or content that would be objectionable to some, or even unacceptable. For example, one ad featured a Confederate flag and sword. Another showed people in blackface. A few ads included a symbol that resembled a swastika (in fact it was not a swastika, but that does not really matter). Finally, although an ad showing a secretary sitting on the boss’s lap might have been considered funny at one time, it is not funny today. For perspective, though, of the approximately 1400 scanned advertisements collected over 100 years, fewer than 10 were placed in the “do not use” file.

The second video is still in production. It focuses on “Advancements of Orthodontics” over the years. Again, images scanned from the pages of the Journal are featured, but in this case they are not advertisements. This video will be themed so that it can be separated into clips devoted to different topics. In some instances, great strides in treatment will be seen (eg, treatment of Class III malocclusion), whereas in others little progress will be noted (eg, airway). Perhaps the most interesting segment will be “The history of the world as reflected in the Journal .” This segment will show how wars, epidemics, dental politics, and government regulations all have fashioned our history and our future in many ways.

This video might also be notable for a few exclusions. Derogatory language occasionally found its way into the Journal , but it will not make it into the video; neither will a few brief moments of brilliant craziness, because trying to explain them would cause the viewer to miss the message. As an example, a story was once told of a speaker who presented research that involved orthodontic treatment on monkeys and their subsequent sacrifice and histologic study. Once concluded, a member of the audience rose to say that he believed that such research would be better conducted using “poor children” instead of monkeys.

What will you see in the video? Consider the figures reproduced here. Figure 1 comes from an article in 1931 that posed the question, “Should a dentist wear a mask?” The author (Mellinger ) believed in the affirmative but only because of the context of the time: a mask should be worn because of onions, tobacco, and alcoholic drinks that might have been consumed by the patient or the doctor just before the appointment. Figure 2 shows a jaw vibrator, which the author (Silverman ) argued should not be used for its intended purpose at the time—by applying abrasive paste on the occlusal surfaces of the teeth and applying the vibrator, the practitioner would “grind in” the occlusion. Of course, some Begg practitioners thought that this treatment was beneficial indeed. Figure 3 is the most often-used figure in the history of the Journal . It is from the Bolton study of Case Western Reserve University based on work conducted by B. Holly Broadbent, Sr. Any author who wrote about growth and development in the 1930s through 1950s seemed to need this figure or one of its variations. Finally, in Figure 4 , the author (Spahn ) suggested that the etiology and treatment of malocclusion has something to do with the position of the body and the intestines.

Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on A pictorial history of orthodontics, 1915-2014

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