Braces remain the best way to address serious orthodontic issues and give you a healthy smile as well as better oral health. In the past, “braces” meant a mouth full of metal and elastic bands for a long time, but today, self-ligating braces offer a more comfortable and efficient treatment. At Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX, we offer the self-ligating option as it’s the perfect solution for some patients.
How Do Self-Ligating Braces Work?
At their most basic, self-ligating braces are no different from any other type of orthodontic aligners. They work in the same way as traditional braces to straighten teeth and align the jaw.
The braces work on the structure of the teeth themselves to move them into their desired position. This happens without a lot of friction, using only minimal, comfortable force. As the braces put pressure on one side of the tooth, it slowly moves. At the same time, your body works to make room in the jaw for the tooth’s new position while repairing and strengthening the areas that the teeth have moved away from.
As one of the least invasive options out there–and an option that doesn’t require as many visits for adjustments–self-ligating orthodontics are a very popular choice that can work even on difficult orthodontic issues.
How Are These Different From Traditional Braces?
Self-ligating and traditional braces look similar, and the brackets are identical. As with a traditional set of braces, you can choose brackets made of metal or get clear or colored ceramic versions. What’s missing, however, are the elastics.
Elastic Band System
Traditional braces use elastic bands to move the jaw and adjust your bite. These elastic bands fasten to the archwire on each bracket and through a little slot. The process of connecting and adjusting them is known as ligation.
Self-ligating braces don’t use these elastic bands, Instead, they have a sliding mechanism that connects the archwires and allows the braces to move without the need for pressure from constantly-adjusted elastic bands.
Downsides to Elastic Bands
While elastic bands work well (and many children are very happy being able to choose bands in a color that reflects their personal style), there are some issues you can avoid when you use self-ligating orthodontics.
For one thing, elastic bands can stretch so much they become useless, which means they have to be replaced. The same can happen when they become stained. They also easily catch particles of food, so having elastic bands makes cleaning your teeth and braces more difficult. Finally, the bands are less comfortable and efficient than the sliding mechanism of the self-ligating version. Most people find them more comfortable to wear, and you don’t need to make as many trips to the orthodontist for adjustments, either.
Types of Self-Ligating Braces
These braces come in two types. One, the ASLB system, is active, while the second PSLB system has a passive action.
The main distinction of this version is that the braces come with a thicker clip system and bracket archwire. These work very efficiently and are especially good at allowing us to make very precise tooth movements.
The passive system uses a smaller archwire and a small door mechanism. This allows your teeth the most freedom of movement and offers less pressure.
When you come in for an appointment, we can evaluate your needs and tell you which types of braces will do the best job of fixing your teeth and jaw issues.
Why Are These Braces So Efficient?
It wasn’t that long ago that getting a great smile meant wearing very clunky mouth gear (and sometimes headgear, too!) And if you didn’t have your issues addressed in childhood, it was nearly unheard of for an adult to wear braces. Adult life can be difficult enough to navigate without a mouth full of metal, wires, and bands!
Today, orthodontics has come a long way and continues to improve every year. Self-ligating braces are just one example of the amazing changes that now make it possible to fix your teeth more comfortably and efficiently than ever.
There are several things that make this option especially efficient:
They Are Fully Customizable
There is no one-size-fits-all approach that works when it comes to orthodontic care. Everyone’s mouth is different and needs a solution that’s unique for them. When you visit us at Central Texas Orthodontics, you can be sure that Dr. Brian St. Louis will give you personalized attention, and that continues as he customizes your self-ligating treatment.
Your treatment will be designed to fit you perfectly and maximize your comfort while also adjusting your teeth in precisely the way you need. The goal is always a strong, healthy smile achieved as quickly and easily as possible.
They Are Fast
No one wants to be in braces one moment longer than they have to, but this is especially true if you’re an adult. Of course, some things can’t be rushed, and a lifetime of healthy jaw alignment and tooth spacing is worth the time you put into it now.
However, there are options that will accomplish your goals more quickly than others. Self-ligating orthodontics can deliver faster results than traditional braces, both in terms of straightening your teeth and in aligning your jaw and bite. Most people can expect their results from four to six months sooner with these braces than with traditional braces.
Self-ligating brackets allow your teeth a greater range of motion, which helps them realign more quickly than they otherwise could. There are no elastic bands in the way to hinder movement, either.
They Are Convenient
Yet another reason that adults sometimes avoid getting braces is the time commitment. Not only do you need time to have them put on and time to allow them to work, but you have to carve out time in your busy schedule to get them adjusted.
A huge advantage of the self-ligating version of braces is the freedom you have compared with traditional treatments. Instead of coming in every few weeks to get your braces adjusted, you can schedule checkups as far apart as ten weeks, making it much easier to work appointments into your lifestyle and schedule.
On average, you need approximately 50% fewer appointments to get your results with this version of braces than with traditional orthodontics. And not only do you have to come in less often and less frequently, but you even spend less time in the office when you do come. The simple technology behind these braces allows us to make extremely fast and convenient adjustments.
They Make Life Simple
Another factor that makes braces annoying is the cleaning. It’s hard enough to do a perfect job of brushing and flossing your teeth as it is, and when you throw in a bunch of elastic bands, it becomes even more difficult.
Yet with the elastic bands required with traditional braces, you have greater potential for bacteria to grow, meaning that cleaning is more important than ever. One of the biggest benefits of the self-ligating choice is they make cleaning so much easier.
They Are Comfortable
While you might not think to associate the word “comfort” with braces, it’s worth considering how self-ligating orthodontics really do offer a comfortable way to achieve the results you need.
Elastic bands create pressure and friction, and you can feel this throughout your mouth. This can cause aches and pain, especially right after an adjustment. But the self-ligating version doesn’t use that much pressure or friction, providing you with a far more comfortable experience.
Do Adults Really Get Braces?
Most people have their orthodontic treatments taken care of as teens, but if you didn’t, or if you’ve had a trauma since that has changed your jaw, there’s no reason you shouldn’t also get to enjoy a healthy mouth, strong teeth, and a beautiful smile. These braces are right for people of every age.
Are These the Right Choice for Me?
These braces are lightweight and come in traditional metal brackets, clear brackets, and brackets colored to match your tooth. They work efficiently even for difficult orthodontic issues, and they provide fast results. Many people also prefer the look, since the lack of elastic bands makes them less noticeable.
However, each person is unique, and you should make the choice based on your orthodontic needs, budget, time frame, and a consultation with Dr. Brian St. Louis. Together we’ll discuss your treatment goals and help you decide the best treatment for you.
Are There Any Special Requirements for Wearing These?
If you and Dr. St. Louis decide this is the right treatment for you, we will be sure you have all the information you need to get started. This will include detailed information on how the treatment works, tips for keeping your teeth and gums healthy, and all the best practices you need to follow to make sure that life with braces is comfortable and your treatment is effective.
We’ll help you understand exactly how to brush and floss to keep your mouth and teeth healthy and give you a list of foods to avoid and what to expect. Our goal is always to give you all the care instructions you need to get the best possible results.
Do I Really Need Braces?
The only way to know for sure if you need braces is to come in for an appointment. But many people who ask this question have already been told they should get braces: the real question is whether you have to have them, and especially if you’re an adult.
The truth is that everyone should have a healthy smile, and not just because it increases self-confidence and allows you to make a good first impression. Orthodontics also help you avoid serious problems down the line that can develop when your bite is not aligned–like infection, the disintegration of the bones in the jaw, headaches, TMJ, and even gastrointestinal problems from improperly chewed food.
It’s also important for adults to know that teeth can shift at any time of life. Though we’re most familiar with the way our mouths change as we move from childhood into adulthood, even healthy teeth may shift over time to give you an unhealthy bite or crooked smile.
Contact Us Today
Visit us today at Central Texas Orthodontics in Austin, TX. We have many choices for giving you and your family straight, healthy smiles, and self-ligating braces are just one of them. These braces can save you time, money, and pain while still giving you a perfectly aligned bite. To find out more, set up your appointment today.