What Are Self-Ligating Braces?

Crooked teeth can affect more than the way you look. Misaligned or crowded teeth can impact the way you speak and eat. An imperfect smile can also make you feel unattractive and self-conscious about your appearance.

While there’s no argument that a straight and perfect smile is the functional and aesthetic ideal, correcting teeth with traditional braces can require months and often years of wearing unattractive and uncomfortable metal appliances. 

Self-ligating braces solve many of the negative aspects of traditional braces while providing effective and permanent correction for most types of orthodontic problems. These orthodontic appliances are less noticeable, more comfortable, and can deliver results in less time than traditional metal braces. 

Self-ligating braces specialists John Vellequette, DDS, and Stephanie Fung, DDS, of Smile Center Silicon Valley in Sunnyvale, California, help patients of all ages achieve remarkable results with this innovative technology. The team at Smile Center Silicon Valley has the experience and expertise necessary to ensure that your treatment plan delivers the results you desire along with the benefits of this revolutionary approach to teeth straightening. 

Find out more about what’s involved with self-ligating braces.

How self-ligating braces work

The technology used in self-ligating braces has some similarities to metal braces. Both systems involve the use of brackets that are bonded to your teeth, with wires threaded through the brackets. 

Like metal braces, self-ligating braces correct your smile by sliding the brackets along the wire to move your teeth into their desired positions. 

The difference between metal braces and self-ligating braces is in how the wire is held in place. Traditional metal braces use elastic bands or metal ties to control the wire. 

With self-ligating braces, the wire is held in place with a slide or door mechanism that is a part of each bracket. This detail makes all the difference between the two systems. The slide mechanism allows your teeth to move without the pressure used in metal braces. The result is a more natural and comfortable straightening system.

The clear brackets used in self-ligating braces are an additional benefit for adults, as well as children and teens, who don’t want the embarrassment of wearing a mouthful of metal appliances while their teeth are straightened.

Elastic bands vs. slide mechanisms

Orthodontic treatment with metal braces requires regular, time-consuming office visits to apply new elastic bands and tighten the wires. This is necessary because the elastic bands lose their strength and function over time. At the end of these visits, you’re likely to experience increased force and friction as your teeth adjust to the new bands and tighter wire.

The slide mechanisms used with self-ligating braces avoid the discomfort caused by elastic bands. The slide mechanisms move your teeth gradually and naturally during the realignment process. This uses less force so the experience involves less discomfort.

While self-ligating braces use a gentler approach to tooth movement, they’re appropriate for correcting many of the same orthodontic problems that metal braces repair. You may benefit from self-ligating braces if you have any of the following issues:

Time-saving benefits

Without the need to replace elastic bands, orthodontic treatment with self-ligating braces can be a time-saver. A typical self-ligating treatment plan involves fewer orthodontic appointments with longer intervals between visits. 

Your total treatment time is also likely to be shorter than treatment with metal braces. When compared to treatment times with metal braces, a comparative study reported that patients with self-ligating braces achieved results in treatment periods up to seven months shorter than those with metal braces.

Better dental health

Self-ligating braces make it easier to keep your teeth clean during orthodontic treatment. The sticky elastic bands used with metal braces can trap cavity-causing plaque, making it difficult to maintain oral hygiene. 

Trapped bacteria can cause bad breath and lead to tooth decay. Self-ligating braces are easier to clean so your teeth can remain healthy throughout treatment to deliver a straight and stunning smile that will last a lifetime.

Find out more about how self-ligating braces work and whether they can give you the perfect smile you desire. Call our office or schedule online today to arrange a consultation.

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