The process of correcting the alignment of your teeth with braces can be long, painful and awkward. Standard braces are known for using tiny elastic or metal bands (known as “ties”) to hold the wiring in place. Even though the ties are effective in holding the wires in place, they posed several disadvantages, such restricting movement of the jaw / mouth, frictional binding and food trapping. But there is another, less cumbersome option that has been prevalent since the 1930s. Self-ligating braces are different from standard braces because they eliminate the need for bands. Patients with these braces also don’t need to come in to as many appointments as those with standard braces.
Self-Ligating Braces come either in traditional metal, ceramic or clear brackets. Self-ligating braces, especially ceramic, which blend in with the teeth, are also more aesthetically pleasing than traditional ones. There are two types of brackets used in self-ligating braces: passive and active.
SPEED System Braces use a “Spring Clip,” an energy-storing component that works like a computer chip for your orthodontics. Read more about SPEED Braces.
Harmony is the industry’s first digitally customized self-ligating lingual system (behind the teeth). It is truly the invisible solution for a perfect smile. Read more about HARMONY BRACES.
Passive brackets are often used in the beginning stages of treatment to help the teeth move into position. They use a smaller archwire, which allows the teeth to move more freely and creates less friction.
On the other hand, active brackets use a thicker archwire, which adds greater pressure to the teeth and forcefully pushes them into place. According to Dr. Jerry Clark, the development of self-ligating brackets was “fueled by a desire to create a bracket that will more efficiently and more effectively move teeth.”
Because they require fewer archwire changes than standard braces do, they don’t require as many appointments. It’s also said to be more hygienic to use self-ligating braces since it’s easier to brush and clean the teeth. Some of the popular brands of self-ligating braces include SmartClip by 3M, Clarity, BioQuick Brackets, Damon Braces and SPEED braces (which have been used since the 1980s).
SPEED Braces, according to the official website, has a Spring Clip that uses a “Super-Elastic” space age material that isn’t found in any other self-ligating braces brand. They’re said to work like a computer chip in the mouth, then follows instructions, which are programmed by the orthodontist, by applying a “light continuous force” to gradually move the teeth to the correct position. Though most self-ligating braces are about the same size as traditional braces, SPEED Braces are about 1/3 smaller than a standard set.
Patients of any age can use self-ligating braces, but are more popular with adults who don’t want to deal with the hassle of traditional metal braces. Due to the extra technology used to make them less painful on the teeth, these braces do cost more than traditional braces. Whereas standard braces cost about $5000-$5800, self-ligating braces cost a few hundred dollars more.
Despite the several benefits of using self-ligating braces, there are also some notable disadvantages. According to this article, these braces can cause clap damage, possibly some “mucosa irritation or occlusal obstruction” and frequent de-bonding from the smaller bases and transverse dimensions in the braces. Depending on the type of treatment you need to correctly align your teeth, it’s best to talk to your local orthodontist before investing in the use of self-ligating braces.