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.
Self-ligating braces eliminate the need for elastic or metal ties, and instead use a permanently installed moveable component to entrap the wire.
The ties used with traditional braces do an effective job of holding the wire in place, but impart significant disadvantages including frictional binding and food trapping. Through elimination of band self-ligating braces reduce frictional resistance. This may permit the teeth to move more freely, and with less applied force. As a result, treatment may be more comfortable, and tooth movement more efficient. Additionally, food trapping is also reduced due to the elimination of band. Patients with these braces also don’t need to come in to as many appointments as those with standard braces.
There are two types of brackets used in self-ligating braces: passive and active. 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.
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.
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