If your orthodontist mentioned words like doors or clips when describing your orthodontic treatment timeline, you probably have some questions about self-ligating braces. Self-ligating braces are an excellent alternative offered to traditional braces. These braces were invented by Dwight Damon, and have numerous benefits including less pressure, more unrestrained movement, and a beautiful smile at the end of treatment. Keep reading to unlock a wealth of knowledge about self-ligating braces from Dr. Amir Davoody, Dr. Rana Mehr, and Dr. Panagiotis Kyteas at Greater Houston Orthodontics.
Self-Ligating Braces FAQs
- What is Ligation?
- What’s the Difference Between Active and Passive Ligation?
- What are Appointments Like?
- What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Self-Ligating Braces?
What is Ligation?
In orthodontics, ligation refers to the attachment of an archwire to a bracket. The archwire is the wire that spans the top or bottom teeth connected to each bracket on traditional or self-ligating braces. For example, with traditional braces, the archwire is what the colorful elastics, called ligatures, hold into place. Self-ligating braces simply omit the elastic ligature. This affixation of the wire to the bracket is orthodontic ligation. The words door or clip in this context refer to how Damon self-ligating brackets affix the wire to each tooth.
What’s the Difference Between Active and Passive Ligation?
There are two general methods of ligation, active and passive ligation. Though studies show there is no advantage to either active or passive self-ligating brackets, we’ll describe both to you here. Active self-ligating brackets utilize a spring and clip mechanism to secure the archwire and apply force onto it for tooth movement and occlusion adjustment. On the other hand, passive self-ligating brackets do not place pressure on the archwire through springs, and instead, use a self-sliding mechanism to facilitate tooth movement. Damon braces are passive self-ligating brackets.
What are Appointments Like?
Appointments with self-ligating options are typically shorter than those when traditional braces are used. Self-ligating braces still require adjustments and visits to the orthodontists. But unlike traditional braces, ligatures don’t have to be switched out every four to six weeks. The benefit here is not only that the braces continue their progress as you wear them, but that there are fewer visits necessary in the long run. Visits to the orthodontist with self-ligating braces can include a force adjustment, replacing the archwire, or cleaning and upkeep.
After appointments or an adjustment, there can be mild discomfort. This is like traditional braces, where any pain occurs with new adjusting or changing forces. Some patients report less pain and discomfort with self-ligating braces than with traditional braces.
What’s the Difference Between Traditional and Self-Ligating Braces?
So, what are the big differences between traditional and self-ligating braces? The big visible aesthetic difference is the more discreet nature of self-ligating braces. The colorful elastics of traditional braces are unnecessary with self-ligating treatment. These braces are also smaller, which helps them be a more invisible part of your life.
Self—ligating braces apply much less pressure to your teeth during bite correction. This leads to healthier tissue and bone surrounding the teeth during treatment. The structure of self-ligating braces allows for more influence over complex and detailed movements by your orthodontist, and in the long run is proven to reduce the need for extractions, headgear, and expanders.
Self-ligating braces could be the option for you! Talk to your orthodontist to learn more.