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Need To Get Braces? Understanding Self-Ligating Braces

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If you have crooked teeth and are looking into orthodontic treatment, your dentist might recommend braces. There are many types of braces available today, such as Invisalign, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and more depending on your needs and preferences. One treatment type you may not have heard of is self-ligating braces. Read on to learn more about these appliances to see if this would be a good fit for you.

What Are Self-Ligating Braces?

With traditional braces, you have brackets, an arch-wire, and elastic ties to secure the arch-wire to the brackets. Instead of using elastic bands to secure the arch-wire, self-ligating braces have a built-in mechanism that holds the wire in place.

What Are the Advantages of Self-Ligating Braces?

There are lots of great benefits of these kinds of braces. First, they are generally easier to keep clean. As such, these braces could be a good option for people who are prone to recurrent cavities or those who are worried about food debris getting stuck in their appliances. In addition, if you get self-ligating braces, your orthodontist appointments may be shorter since your dentist won't need to change out elastic bands and can change the arch-wire quickly. 

One study found that after a four-month alignment stage, there was significantly more improvement in dental irregularity for patients with self-ligating braces compared to those with traditional brackets, which means that you may have a shorter treatment time. In addition, if you are worried about your braces being noticeable, some self-ligating braces can be fitted with clear brackets instead of metal ones.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

People who want to spend a little bit more on treatment are typically better candidates for these types of braces. Because self-ligating braces use more advanced technology to secure the arch-wire, they can be more expensive than other types of braces. But ultimately, the cost may depend more on other factors, like the length of treatment, the severity of the malocclusion, whether you have dental insurance, etc. These braces are only a good option with people with mild or moderately severe malocclusions. Complex cases — like patients with rotated teeth — may not be able to get self-ligating braces. These braces are also great for people who are committed to good oral hygiene and restricted diets (e.g. no crunchy foods). The locking mechanism of self-ligating braces can break or get stuck if you eat crunchy or sticky foods, so the benefit of a quicker treatment will only work for patients who are committed to their treatment plan.

Reach out to your dentist for more information on self-ligating braces and other orthodontic treatments.