In the UK at the beginning of the 20th century the majority of orthodontics was carried out by general dental practitioners using removable appliances. This was still the case when the NHS was introduced in 1948. At that time there were only 10 specialist orthodontists in the UK. Removable appliances were favoured by the NHS as it was a cost effective form of treatment which could be provided by dentists.
However, since the 1970s there has been a steady decline in the use of removable appliances in favour of fixed appliances, which have become more cost effective due to prefabrication and bonding. In addition they offer greater three dimensional tooth control.
The next pages will examine early removable appliances and the development of removable appliance clasps.