Self Ligating Braces vs Traditional Braces – Which one is More Convenient?

In many cases, most dental problems require orthodontic treatment that fundamentally involves specific orthodontic appliances to obtain the intended result. Dental problems such as crooked teeth, teeth do not fit the jaw, misaligned teeth, overbites, and underbites are being faced by millions around the world these days.

Orthodontic appliances such as braces are gaining popularity over decade to address those dental problems, as they act as a perfect solution to make the mouth look more balanced and in some cases to stop the pain; it also without a doubt plays a part in improving physical appearance.

However, a person would not fully understand the decent selection of braces, until they visit a dentist; even people have different comprehension about having dental braces.

When conducting initial consultations, orthodontists often hear some questions from new patients. The first two common questions are about the comfort level of braces and the length of treatment they will have. Some of the patients may also inquire about how their braces may visible.

Nowadays, as many people demand convenience, short span of time spent undergoing treatment and aesthetics in appearance even though they are in a course of dental care; orthodontic researchers are constantly looking for alternatives to bring down the level of discomfort answering the demands and requirements of modern times.

In reality, thanks to current advancements in technology, today’s orthodontic treatments are readily available in many different types of braces.

When dealing with a sense of comfort, sleek and reduce the span of treatment time, there are several options of braces as the go-to appliance for orthodontic treatment that you can obtain to correct the dental problems.

One of the many options of available braces that you may encounter when you visit an orthodontist is known as Self-Ligating braces (SLBs) also known as Damon Braces or Smart Brackets. However, are they really appropriate as you need?

Self-ligating braces are a modern alternative over traditional braces, yet still empower the conventional “train track” metal brackets. For those of you who want to avoid the many discomforts of conventional braces, let’s delve more into self-ligating braces and whether they are proper for convenience use.

What are Self-Ligating Braces?

In a nutshell, the self-ligating braces are nothing more than just conventional braces, with the exception of the ligatures. They use small metal doors as self-ligating mechanisms to hold the wires, instead of elastics or rubber bands or metal ties.

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Self-ligating braces may come up in many different names, depending on the company that advertises this type of braces. The most popular names are Damon®, In-Ovation and Speed System.

Self-ligating brackets (SLBs) have been known for more than 20 years; however, they gained popularity and have just been in the spotlight, at least in the last 10 years.

Many companies have adopted this braces system and marketing directly to the majority of consumers and patients yearning for the latest innovations in orthodontic treatment.

The system itself has actually been published since the mid-1930s, whilst the modern self-ligation system was first introduced by Ormco ™ with the Edgelock® bracket in the 1970s.

However, this Edgelock® bracket leaves many shortcomings, as it was welded to a band, hard to open, and it was big in form.

Several years later, in the early 1980s, an orthodontist named Dr. Herbert Hanson developed the Speed brackets, and it was produced by Orec ™ and became the forerunner of a highly aesthetic metal bracket.

This system still keeps some shortcomings, as the brackets are difficult to put on precisely because it has a small mesio-distal width, also the issues around the rotations corrections which make it difficult to be accepted by the most of the orthodontist.

Following in the modern era some brackets began to come, some of them hit the market as well. Damon® brackets are available in several forms and In-Ovation brackets.

Some companies also produce their brackets, both “passive” and “interactive” versions: American Orthodontics (Empower®), 3M ™ Unitek ™ (SmartClip ™) and Forestadent® (QuicKlear® and BioQuick®) are the most popular ones.

Traditional Ligation vs. Self-Ligation Brackets

When it comes to traditional braces, an orthodontist uses elastics (elastomeric ligation) to keep the archwire in the brackets by default.

However, in self-ligating braces, special clips or brackets equipped with small, spring-loaded doors hold the archwire within the metal braces by closing the doors and move the teeth in proper alignment.

The brackets allow for greater freedom of teeth movement, thereby reducing the discomfort commonly found in traditional ligatures.

The drawback of traditional brackets is during the process of movement, a little friction may occur as a result of Elastomeric Ligation (rubber ties). Therefore, as the tooth shifts or turns, the rubber tie slows the archwire movement, leading to slower teeth movement.

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Whereas on a self-ligating system, the movement process does not involve elastomeric ligation, therefore the friction between sliding of wire through the brackets may not occur.

Both types of braces yield the similar effect on teeth movement, it’s just that a simple adjustment is necessary for self-ligating braces which usually not found in conventional braces, resulting in decreased in regular visits to orthodontists, reducing discomfort during the adjustment and minimize the treatment time due to ease of movement.

Types of Self-Ligating Braces

Many self-ligating bracket systems are evolving these days, and the Damon® brackets system is one of the most popular ones.

The Damon system is unique in design, using a combination of passive self-ligating brackets without the use of elastic O-rings, with minimally invasive treatment (RPE, surgery or retraction), as well as low-force and low-friction systems. There are two categories of self-ligation brackets, passive and active, both of which depend on the mechanism of the sliding doors.

1. Passive Brackets

Passive self-ligating is built with small metal doors that can be opened or closed without disturbing the position of archwire inside the slots.

Passive one usually utilizes a smaller size of the archwire for creating less friction, thus allowing your teeth to move more freely. This type of self-ligating is usually applied by orthodontists at the beginning of treatment.

2. Active Brackets

Active brackets designed with spring-loaded doors that hold the archwire, which is useful to control the movement of teeth in all directions and correct the rotation of the teeth.

This type of braces usually uses a thicker size of the archwire, providing more pressure onto the teeth and corrects the teeth in aligned positions.

Self-Ligating Braces Pros and Cons

Just like any other type of braces, the self-ligating braces may also come with either any advantages or disadvantages. You should consider some of the facts when it comes to making a decision of whether to choose this type of braces.

Advantages of Self-Ligating Brackets

  1. Minimize discomfort
  2. Much evidence indicates that by neglecting the use of rubber ties (as found in traditional braces setups), there will be a less friction of the archwire inside the bracket containers, thereby optimizing the force required to move the teeth.

    This, in turn, reduces the discomfort that patients might have during the treatment. However, keep in mind that it does not completely eliminate the whole soreness; it’s just general pain reduction as a result of reduced treatment time.

  3. Efficiency in Treatment Time
  4. In many cases, self-ligating braces are believed to shorten the time required (about 6 months faster) to move the tooth in the intended position. However, it still depends on the severity and type of malocclusion being addressed.

  5. Maintain Oral Hygiene
  6. Dental and oral hygiene is absolutely necessary during orthodontic treatment. Patients will be easier to brush up their teeth when using self-ligation braces rather than traditional ones. Due to the smaller size of self-ligating brackets and the absence of elastic bands (notorious for trapping food) allow it to happen.

Disadvantages of Self-Ligating Brackets

  1. Expensive Cost
  2. If cost is the main consideration of your dental care, then you can exclude the option of installing this type of braces. Traditional braces are certainly a better option when it comes to talking about spending expenses.

  3. Irritating on Initial Treatment
  4. Orthodontists will apply the braces for the first time, and make some adjustments at the time of visits, which potentially causing any discomfort during the adjustment period, which can last for several days.

  5. Detailing
  6. Placing your teeth in the right position for ideal aesthetics requires maximum control of orthodontists. Not every orthodontist has this ability.

    The wire inside the brackets is generally a little more loosely in the brackets, hence it will be more difficult for the dentist (which means he/she has to an expert in detailing) to get the precise result and take a little longer in the final stages of treatment than traditional braces.

  7. Not Completely Transparent
  8. It is obvious that self-ligating braces only utilize transparent brackets to blend in with the teeth, yet when you look in the mirror, you can still see that there are visible metal wires run across the top and the bottom of the teeth.

Final words:

Whatever choice of braces you want, remember that this is an important decision. Consult a good orthodontist, to determine whether Invisalign, conventional, lingual or self-ligating braces will work well in your sets of situation.
An experienced orthodontist will collect all preliminary data on the severity and malocclusion of your dental problems. Then she/he will make such an important decision to ensure the best possible results for your dream smile, without showing a tendency to any of the types of braces they might like.

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