Self-Ligating Brackets

The internet is rife with rumours about self-ligating brackets. They are new and exciting, and have some unique qualities that make them more desirable than other forms of orthodontry. But what are these new innovations? Is it really that much better? Are there any downsides to this new form of orthodontic treatment? All this and more in this article.

Adult braces

 

What are self-ligating orthodontic systems?

To find out if they do all the things they are supposed to, let us first find out what self-ligating braces really are.
Ligation in the orthodontic sense means how will the force exerted by the archwire get to the teeth, and by what mechanisms will it move the teeth in the direction they need to be moved in. Usually, ligatures are small rubber band like little rings that are made of a special, very durable and clean form of plastic. These become obsolete with self-ligating brackets. This is because these brackets have a trap door like little device on them that brings the force and torque of the archwire and directs immediately into the brackets themselves which are adhered to the teeth, and thus the force is sent directly to the teeth, without the need for ligatures.
 

Is it better?

Self-ligating systems are better for the patient in a number of ways. First of all, they are reported to be more comfortable, as there are less things in the mouth. Less foreign material in the mouth also translates to fewer chances of infection and decay, as the bacteria have less stuff to live on.
It is also more efficient, and requires fewer visits to the dentist, as the ligatures do not become loose over time, and thus do not need to be replaced. This means that the treatment time is typically shorter than for braces that involve ligatures, but this is not always the case and needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.
 

Downsides

Interestingly enough, there are no downsides to speak of. It is the same orthodontic procedure as with traditional metal braces, but it is just a more efficient and less intrusive form of the brace that is used.      

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