If you are like most patients, you probably have two big questions when considering braces. The first question most patients ask is how long their treatment will take. The second is how noticeable the braces will be. Traditional metal braces have always been considered extremely effective, but they are more visible, and they often require longer treatment times.
Self-ligating braces, on the other hand, are more sophisticated in that they both shorten treatment time (by as much as six months), and they are much more discreet. They are also more comfortable to wear.
An Idea Whose Time Has Come
Surprisingly, these sophisticated braces have actually been around since the 1930’s, but now the technology has finally advanced to the point where they present a more seamless orthodontic experience.
The main differences between traditional braces and self-ligating braces is the design of the bracketing system. Self-ligating braces are placed on the teeth like traditional metal braces, with the exception of the ligatures or elastics. No elastics or rubber bands are needed in this type of orthodontics treatment.
Self-Ligating Braces: Different by Design
Special clips are used on the brackets that keep the archwire in place as it moves your teeth into position. Typically, the brackets of self-ligating braces are smaller offering increased patient comfort. Self-ligating braces are easier to keep clean as there are no rubber bands or elastics to trap food particles.
How Do Self-Ligating Braces Work
Self-ligating brackets are also slightly smaller in size as compared to traditional braces. The manufacturers of self-ligating braces have worked to ensure they are smooth and rounded increasing comfortability and reducing spaces where food can get trapped.
They utilize a specialized clip instead of elastics to help the archwire guide teeth into place. The clip helps reduce the amount of pressure being placed on teeth and requires fewer adjustments because there are no elastics to replace. Overall, self-ligating braces have the hygienic benefit of smooth, rounded brackets reducing spaces where food can get caught.