Comparing braces can be a big task since there are so many options out there. At Central Texas Orthodontics of Austin, TX, we offer a range of braces and would be happy to share our recommendations once we evaluate your dental goals and needs. For today, we’re going to discuss self-ligating braces, or SLB, which is a good place to start if you’re looking to help your treatment be as gentle and effective as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Self-Ligating Braces?
Discreet and Streamlined Appearance
Some patients might get a kick out of customizing their braces with different elastics, but others would prefer that their braces be more minimalistic. If colorful elastics don’t appeal to you, self-ligating braces could be the better match. Braces that are paired with SLB technology tend to look more modern, streamlined, and low-profile.
Less Wasted Time
It’s important to come in for regular check-ups when you have braces. That said, SLB technology can make these visits faster, since adjusting these braces tends to be easier. Depending on your needs, we may be able to schedule less frequent appointments as well, since a lack of elastics can help the process be more reliable.
Any time saved is a benefit for our busy patients, but it’s also a benefit if you struggle with anxiety before dental appointments. It can be helpful for anxious patients to know that their visit is going to be as short and easy as possible.
Enjoy Faster Results
SLB technology allows for more efficient tooth movement, which can translate into a shorter treatment period. If a fast treatment time is one of your primary goals, feel free to bring this up during your consultation. While treatment time can range individually, we will do our best to make this process as quick as possible.
Elastics can be a little tricky and annoying to clean around. Not only do you have to clean your teeth, but the elastics themselves can grow plaque so you have to make sure they’re clean as well. Some patients can grow frustrated by this process and end up cutting corners, which can lead to tartar development in and around your braces. That’s the last thing you want!
Using self-ligating braces instead of elastics can help dental hygiene be easier, so patients are more likely to get their teeth cleaner. This will not only help protect your teeth and your braces but will help your breath smell fresh and your teeth look their best.
What Can I Expect From the Process?
12 to 24 Months of Treatment
We will need to meet with you to give you a more specific estimate since each patient has their own needs and dental goals for us to keep in mind. As a general rule, 12 to 24 months is a common treatment range for self-ligating braces.
Some patients are going to benefit from a bit more time with their braces, while other patients may be able to reach their goals in less than a year. Regardless, the reduced friction SLB technology offers helps make the process as quick as it can be.
The Role of Friction
Self-ligating technology is able to put less strain on your teeth than elastics. As it allows your teeth more movement, it can help improve comfort and decrease friction at the same time.
These benefits don’t mean we’ll be cutting any corners. On the contrary, we want this treatment to be easy on the patient while being just as effective as the traditional approach. Our goal is to set you up for long-term success; we just want you to be as comfortable as possible while getting there.
What Can Affect My Treatment Time?
Patients with more involved dental needs may need to wear their braces longer to get the results they want. How patients respond to treatment may also be influenced by genetics, which is why we’ll be putting our experience to good use as we customize your treatment for your needs. We’re ready to help you throughout every step of the process to get you to your end goal.
It’s important to take good care of your braces so they can keep working at their best. By keeping your braces safe during sports and meals, you’ll be supporting your own results. When braces are damaged we will of course be here to help, but avoiding damage when at all possible is preferable.
On that same train of thought, keeping your braces clean and coming in for your visits can also help your treatment stay on track.
It can be helpful to think of your braces as part of your teeth. Since braces are attached to the tooth enamel, taking good care of your teeth helps benefit your braces too. On the other hand, things that are harmful to your teeth are probably harmful to your braces.
You’ll want to avoid food that could damage your teeth or braces, and keep up on your daily hygiene to avoid tartar buildup or decay. Using water to flush out around your teeth can be especially helpful if food particles have become lodged in your teeth or braces.
FAQ About Self-Ligating Braces
1. Do They Work the Same As Traditional Braces?
Other than replacing the use of elastics, SLB technology is made of the same sturdy material traditional braces are. They’re just as reliable and are known to produce excellent results. The technology behind braces is constantly being improved upon, and we consider self-ligating technology to be one of those improvements.
Traditional braces are still widely used and a perfectly acceptable treatment option. They use brackets, archwires, and elastics to guide teeth into the correct position over time. Every time the braces are adjusted, the teeth are nudged a little further toward a correct alignment. SLB technology is able to take the same approach while removing some of the downsides associated with traditional braces. They have clips instead of elastics, which can provide a smoother process.
2. Are There Different Types of Self Ligating Braces?
To help it be even more customizable, there are several options available so SLB technology can reflect the needs of each patient. Each option has different benefits, and we’d be happy to talk about which one you may want to consider.
Patients may want to start off with the “passive” option, as it allows more tooth movement and can help the patient get comfortably started on their treatment process. Smaller archwires help maximize the space between each bracket. If the corrections you want to pursue are considered mild, you may be able to get the results you want with these braces.
If you need more comprehensive corrections, you may want to consider an “active” SLB option. These generally use a thicker archwire, which provides extra corrective power. Even though they’re able to apply more pressure, they still have the benefit of reduced friction that all SLB systems offer.
Both the active and passive SLB systems can work very well, so there isn’t a clear right or wrong choice between them. It boils down to what your needs are since both systems offer the comfort, sleek design, and effectiveness that self-ligating braces are known for.
3. What Can I Have Treated With an SLB System?
Since SLB systems work very similarly to traditional braces, they are good for almost any issue that can be treated with traditional braces. In fact, they may actually be a better fit for a wider range of patients when compared to traditional braces, since they have the strength of traditional braces paired with improved flexibility.
Some issues that can be treated with self-ligating technology can include but are not limited to the following:
- Overcrowded teeth
- Misaligned teeth
4. What Other Options Do I Have?
We’re pleased to offer a range of high-quality options to meet the needs of as many patients as possible. If you’re looking for discreet braces, we offer ceramic brackets made of a clear material. This helps the braces blend right into your smile.
We’re also pleased to offer clear aligners. Clear aligners aren’t braces but can address many of the same issues braces can. They are custom-made for your teeth, and it’s almost impossible to tell if someone’s wearing them. Whether you’re interested in self-ligating braces or one of our other options, feel free to drop us a line!
We’re Ready To Talk Through Your Options
Picking out the right braces is an important decision. We would be happy to offer our knowledge and experience to help you make the right call. We can talk through the different braces and aligners we offer, and discuss in greater detail what you can expect. Contact us at Central Texas Orthodontics of Austin, TX, today to get your consultation set up and start your journey towards a healthier smile.