What are Self-Ligating Braces? How are they different from traditional braces

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Dental imperfections are not as rare as you think; some people have crooked teeth, while others might have too little or too much spacing between their teeth. In such cases, do you know what your orthodontist will typically recommend? The answer is getting teeth braces.

Dental braces are made of wires and are used by orthodontists to correct crowded and misaligned teeth or jaw. While people mostly get these teeth braces during their teenage years, even adults benefit from getting them these days. The most common reasons why people opt for braces besides the above-mentioned dental conditions are because they have:

  • Overcrowded teeth

  • An overjet (where the upper front teeth tend to stick out)

  • An overbite (where the lower teeth bite too far behind the upper teeth)

  • An underbite (where the upper front teeth bite behind the lower ones)

While getting dental braces can be an answer to several teeth-related issues, did you know that you don’t always have to settle for traditional braces? A viable alternative to the traditional metal braces is the self-ligating braces. If you have heard the term for the first time, let’s learn more about this type of braces, and you can gauge whether it’s the right one for you or not.

What are self-ligating braces?

Teeth braces have small fixtures called brackets that are attached to the teeth, and an archwire, which is a thin metal wire, runs through these brackets. This archwire is adjusted to apply force to move your teeth into the desired position. Traditional braces make use of elastic bands or metal ties to ensure that the archwire remains secured in the brackets. Whereas, the self-ligating braces have a system built inside these brackets to hold the archwire in place. This is a more streamlined and discreet way of teeth straightening and does not draw a lot of attention to this orthodontic appliance fixed over your teeth.

If you are worried about tooth decay since having braces on can make it difficult to brush or floss, fret not. Try Oral-B iO 8 Ultimate Electric Toothbrush, with 6 Smart Modes that help personalise your brushing. It is equipped with Artificial Intelligence that recognises your brushing style and guides you to cover all your teeth so that you don’t miss a spot. So, you can enjoy a professional cleaning combined with a gentle brushing experience.

Self-ligating braces vs traditional braces

Traditional Braces

Self-ligating Braces

1. These braces make use of tiny elastic bands or metal ties called ligatures that are applied to the brackets to hold the archwire in place.

1. Self-ligating braces do not make use of elastic bands or metal ties. Instead, they have a built-in system to secure the archwire to the brackets.

2. Using traditional braces can cause slower tooth movement.

2. Self-ligating braces have a built-in system that keeps them active and helps move teeth at a faster pace.

3. Traditional braces make use of a combination of metal brackets, elastic bands, and ligatures.

3. Self-ligating braces make use of two types of brackets: active and passive brackets. The active brackets make use of a sliding spring clip mechanism and are pressed against the archwire to apply active force. Whereas, the passive brackets use a simple sliding mechanism that does not press on the archwire.

While both traditional and self-ligating braces can cause pain and discomfort initially, it is believed the latter causes less discomfort than traditional braces if you follow proper oral hygiene while wearing them.

The benefits of self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces have certain potential benefits that make them a convenient option.

  • Easier to clean: The ligatures in the traditional braces can trap food particles in and around the brackets. Since the self-ligating braces do not have ligatures, there are lesser chances of this happening and it becomes easier to brush and floss your teeth.

  • Less discomfort: The presence of the litigating elastic bands that are attached to the archwire can cause a bit of discomfort. In the absence of these elastic bands, the wires present in the bracket slots minimise friction and the force required to move the teeth. This means there’s lesser discomfort than in the traditional braces.

  • Shorter orthodontist visits: When it comes to traditional braces, the individual ligatures have to be replaced during an adjustment. However, with self-ligating brackets, opening and shutting them during an adjustment is less time-consuming.

Precautions to take while wearing self-ligating braces

While self-ligating braces reduce discomfort and are relatively easier to clean, there are certain precautions you need to take.

  • Even if cleaning is easier with self-ligating braces, food particles can get trapped and cause plaque buildup and increase the risk of tooth decay. So, use advanced dental products from Oral-B to prevent tooth decay and plaque buildup.

  • When you finally get your braces removed, ensure that you wear the retainer or else your teeth can go back to their old positions.

  • A common problem with self-ligating braces is that there can be bracket failure. The repeated opening and closing of the self-ligating brackets can cause wear and tear, and they might have to be replaced. This means extended treatment duration and longer dental appointments.

Self-ligating braces are quite hassle-free and require shorter orthodontist appointments and are more comfortable than traditional braces. However, it is vital that you adhere to good oral hygiene practices to prevent further dental issues.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Who should opt for self-ligating braces?

    Self-ligating braces are ideal for those who want straight teeth with efficient orthodontic methods. Those who want faster treatment and fewer orthodontists treatment, and no visible elastic bands can also opt for self-ligating braces.

  2. Which conditions do self-ligating braces treat?

    Self-ligating braces treat a variety of conditions such as crowding, excessive overjet and underbite, and gaps between the teeth. Self-ligating braces are similar to traditional braces. So, they can treat similar conditions but with more comfort and convenience.

  3. Do self-ligating braces need tightening?

    Just like traditional braces, self-ligating braces too require adjustments. Your orthodontist can evaluate the progress and make slight adjustments to the archwire or replace it completely. These adjustments are necessary to modify the force placed on the teeth, to help them move teeth to their new positions.