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What Are Self-Ligating Braces?

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Medically Reviewed By Colgate Global Scientific Communications

Essentially, Self-Ligating Braces are when the braces are attached to the tooth and a metal door on the bracket holds the archwire freely into place. This helps to move teeth naturally as they are straightened.

Unlike traditional braces, you don't need rubber bands or elastic rings to hold the orthodontic wire to the bracket. The wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth. This type of brace system isn’t a new treatment, yet their popularity has increased as companies have begun marketing directly to the patients or consumers.

What’s the difference between Ceramic or Metal Self-Ligating Braces?

According to the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), Self-Ligating Ceramic Braces are tooth-colored, so they’re less visible to others. They are affixed to teeth, and the wires thread through slots in the brackets. Built-in clips hold the wires to the brackets made of ceramic or porcelain materials. In comparison, Self-Ligating Metal Braces are generally made of stainless steel, and some patients may also have metal bands encircling back teeth.

Types of Braces

When searching for information, you may encounter different brand names for the self-ligating system. These companies may make claims around faster treatment time, less pressure on teeth or more effective results compared to traditional braces. However, these claims are largely based on biased research.

Learn more about the different types of braces and the cost associated. Your orthodontist will diagnose and determine the correct treatment based on what’s best for your mouth and teeth.


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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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