Self-ligating Braces: Features, Pros and Cons


Self-ligating braces are generation of high-quality orthodontic systems – with better complex device, but without additional devices in the form of ligature rings.

The peculiarity of the bracket systems under consideration lies in the way they are fixed. This is a design with a movable arch, which is attached to the teeth with the help of sliding clamps. Thanks to SL brackets, the corrective pressure is adjusted automatically. The load is created on the right areas, which guarantees a better treatment that lasts less than in the case of ligature constructions. With such braces, the movement of teeth is carried out with less friction.

Among the general indications for the installation of a bracket system, there are:

  • misaligned and twisted teeth;
  • pathological bite;
  • preparation for prosthetics;
  • curvature of the dentition due to the absence of neighboring units.

For the first time after the installation of the systems, the patient may have a severe discomfort. During the whole course of treatment, you should observe proper care of the teeth with braces, avoid strong pressure when cleaning, and don’t forget to rinse your mouth with special products.

Types of Self-ligating Braces

The braces system involves two main components – an orthodontic arch and braces that fix the structure on the teeth. For the correction of the bite, that is, the displacement of the teeth in the required direction, the metal arc is responsible. Different types of bracket systems can be distinguished, depending on the structure and material.

Active and passive self-ligating brackets have different types of fixation. In the first case, the mechanical shutter of the slot exerts active pressure on the wire arc and moves it toward the base of the slot. And in braces with a passive type of fixation, the mechanical shutter is only a cover that prevents the arc from leaving the groove of the mechanism. A striking example is damon self-ligating braces, that use weak tension forces, but at the same time, have a good and effective effect on the dentition. They are quick to install, easy to maintain, and correct an overbite almost painlessly.

Depending on the materials of manufacture, the following types of self-ligating braces are distinguished:

  1. Metal. Robust and durable designs that are suitable for the most difficult clinical cases. Easy to install and remove.
  2. Ceramic. Aesthetic systems that can be made entirely of ceramic or with sapphire elements. Self-ligating ceramic braces don’t contrast with tooth enamel, therefore it does not attract the attention of others. Not used to treat serious disorders.
  3. Sapphire. Synthetic crystals (sapphires) are used for manufacturing. They are inferior in strength to metal products, but they are much more reliable than ceramic ones.

Sometimes a combined system is used during installation. Most often, strong metal self-ligating braces are placed on the lower jaw, and combined metal and sapphire or ceramic braces are placed on the upper jaw. Such designs are recommended for those who are looking for a compromise between affordable price, invisibility, and wearing comfort.

Advantages of Self-ligating Braces

Self-ligation in orthodontics has already gained wide popularity among dental professionals. They have a higher cost than classic products, but at the same time, they have several advantages.

  • Convenience. Flexible fixation of the archwire makes the entire structure not as cumbersome as in the case of ligature braces, which greatly facilitates the process of eating and carrying out hygiene procedures for caring for teeth. Reduces the risk of plaque and caries.
  • No need for tooth extraction.
  • Efficiency and physiology. Features of the fastening and functioning of the arc in a self-ligating system reduce the friction force and stimulate and involve the tissue surrounding the teeth in the process of alignment. The process of restructuring bone and muscle tissue becomes less traumatic, their blood supply is not disturbed. The duration of treatment is reduced by almost a third.
  • Reducing pain. It allows you to effectively correct the bite with less force of the arch wire on the teeth, which allows patients to feel more comfortable in the first days of wearing braces.
  • Low trauma. The absence of protruding elements contributes to rapid addiction and does not injure the soft tissues of the oral cavity. Accordingly, the risk of developing inflammatory processes is reduced.
  • Reliability. Self-ligating braces are more reliable due to their elasticity.
  • Ability to reinforce teeth for people with periodontal disease.
  • Reducing the number of visits to the dental clinic. To correct the self-ligating construction, it will be enough to visit the clinic once every two to three months.

When wearing self-ligating braces, pain is less likely to occur, since the system works with less effort. Teeth move smoothly and naturally. Caring for this type of braces becomes a little easier due to the lack of ligature fasteners.

Disadvantages of Self-ligating Braces

This type of brace is a worthy alternative to widely available ligature structures. They act softly and look aesthetically pleasing. However, with all the pros of self-ligating braces, it also has some disadvantages. It should be noted the high cost of placing such a bracket system due to the specifics of design and installation. In addition, the locking mechanism may break or jam, requiring additional repairs. Although SL braces have the best aesthetic features, they cannot be completely invisible. Even if a ceramic option is installed, the arc remains metal and the structures are visible on the teeth. Before making a choice, have an examination with an orthodontist, listen to his recommendations about treatment, and feel free to express your preferences.

Modern methods in orthodontics make it possible to correct almost any violations in the development of the tooth-jaw system. Many people put off getting braces because of embarrassment as well as concern about their appearance. If you are this type of person, just remember that this is an investment in your appearance and long-term dental health. And the sooner you start orthodontic treatment, the sooner you can enjoy a beautiful and even smile.