Traditional Braces VS. Self-Ligating Braces

Shorter treatment times. Less appointments. Less need for extractions. How is this all possible?

How can self-ligating braces provide shorter treatment times, fewer appointments, and less need for extractions?

Besides, Self-ligating braces do not have elastic ligatures or metal ties, which traditional braces have, that increase friction between the wire and the braces, slowing down tooth movement and causing discomfort.

Instead, self-ligating braces have a door mechanism that opens and closes to hold the tooth-aligning wires, which results in faster tooth movement with less friction and discomfort.

Benefits of self-ligating braces:

With no need for elastic ties that lose strength over time, the interval between appointments for self-ligating braces can be extended to 8-12 weeks, compared to traditional braces that require replacement of the ties every 4-6 weeks.

These Self-ligating braces also offer benefits such as less pain, more comfort, better hygiene, and more discreet design.

However, self-ligating braces require monitoring to ensure that the clip or door in the bracket is intact and still functioning well, and small arch wire bends or elastic ligatures may still need to be placed.

Self-Ligating Technology:

Next, Self-ligating braces are a promising technology but they have some disadvantages, including bracket issues that require attention.

Passive self-ligating brace system is the answer. While self-ligating braces aren’t exactly the newest in orthodontic technology, they have steadily gained steam over the recent years due to newer product material and application methods.

This trend in popularity is due to the many benefits that self-ligating braces offer versus traditional braces…

self ligating vs traditional braces

Traditional Braces

Consisting of small “wings”, traditional braces hold the tooth-aligning wires in place with tight elastic ties (these are the colours you see on the braces). These elastic ties on each brace create increased friction between the braces and the wire.

Equally important, In order for teeth to move, the brace must slide along the wire. The elastic ties and their friction slow down this “sliding” and require higher force levels to move teeth.

The result? More discomfort and slower tooth movement. Furthermore, the elastic ties lose their strength over time and their ability to hold the wire all the way in the braces. However, This requires more frequent appointments to replace the ties with fresh ones too.

Traditional Braces Overview:

Longer Treatment Time (patient depending)

Increased Patient Discomfort

Increased Number of Office Visits

More Difficult at Home Maintenance / Cleanliness


Self-Ligating Braces

Differing from traditional braces, self-ligating braces do not have the elastic ligatures. In other words, there are no elastic “ties” or metal ties because they are simply not needed.

Rather, self-ligating braces have a door mechanism that is opened and closed to hold the tooth-aligning wires. This allows for far less friction between the wire and the braces.

Moreover, This results in faster tooth movement because the braces are free to slide along the wire (metal bracket on metal wire). Also, this concept allows for greater freedom of tooth movement with much less discomfort.


In addition, Lighter forces are utilized because of the reduction in friction between the wire and brace.

With no need for the elastic ties that fade with time, the interval between appointments is much longer.

Gone are the days of having to replace the elastic ties every 4-6 weeks.

With our self-ligating braces, we are able to extend your appointment intervals out every 8-12 weeks.

In summary, self-ligating braces are easier on your teeth, easier on your time, and achieve stunning results.

Self-ligating Braces Overview:

Less Patient Discomfort

Faster Treatment Results

Less Frequent Office Visits

Easier at Home Maintenance & Cleanliness


Less Pain

More Comfort

Faster Treatment comparitively

Fewer orthodontist Appointments for adjustments

Easier cleaning and better Hygiene

More confidence with a more discreet braces design

A fuller smile without the need for removing teeth or wearing an expander in most cases.

Self- ligating braces

What are the types of self-ligating braces?

There two types of self-ligating brackets:


First, Brackets use a sliding spring clip mechanism to “actively” press against the arch wire, applying an active force.


Next, Brackets use a simple sliding mechanism which does not press on the arch wire.

Number of Appointments are reduced when compared to Traditional Braces.

Minimal Invasive.

There is NO Tearing or Laceration of any soft tissue in the mouth.

No Food Lodgment in Self-Ligating braces.


Do self-ligating braces need to be tightened?

Traditional braces require adjustments every four to ten weeks in order for them to continue applying the correct pressure to your teeth.

In these appointments, your orthodontist will also replace the elastic or wire ligatures affixing your brackets to your arch wires and the wires themselves may need to be replaced, adjusted, or tightened.

Monitoring of Self-ligating braces

Besides, Changing the O-rings or elastic chain also allows patients to choose “new colors” for the braces, which many patients enjoy!

Next Self-ligating braces still need to be monitored to ensure that the clip or door in the bracket is intact and still functioning well.

Patients with self-ligating brackets still require the placement of small arch wire bends to straighten the teeth and/or placement of elastic ligatures to close residual space or keep unwanted spaces from opening during their orthodontic treatment.

All of these procedures are still technically “tightening” the braces.

Traditional Braces vs Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces have a number of reported benefits, namely:


Since, One of the key benefits of a self-ligating braces is that they don’t tend to require any ligatures to secure the arch wire in place. Generally made from elastic, ligatures may trap more food particles in and around the orthodontic brackets.

Ligature-free braces, May in theory, catch less particles, however, they still need to be cleaned thoroughly just like any other braces to avoid problems.


 Second, depending upon their size and design, self-ligating may be slightly less visible, a significant selling point for the self-conscious teenager (not to mention, many self-conscious adults).


Self-ligating braces may sometimes require fewer appointments than traditional braces, potentially offering the promise of time-saving convenience for busy patients. However, this is completely dependent upon the patient’s individual treatment requirements.

These Self-ligating braces are a promising new technology. But they have two key disadvantages:

They include:

Bracket issues:

 Since, The sliding mechanism in self-ligating braces must be to opened and closed many times during a patient’s treatment. Any moving part can give problems and may need replacement (compared to traditional brackets). It also depends on how well you treat your braces by avoiding hard and sticky foods!

Tooth and gum problems:

 However, as with traditional braces, self-ligating braces make it harder to keep your teeth squeaky clean – though the lack of elastic bands does make access to your teeth and gums a little easier.

Still, compromised brushing and flossing means trapped food particles can build up, causing tooth decay and gum disease if left untreated.

Therefore, all braces, self-ligating or not, require meticulous oral hygiene to avoid dental and gum problems.

What’s ultimately better: self-ligating or traditional braces?

Ultimately, scientific evidence shows that the type of bracket attached to your tooth (i.e. self-ligating or traditional bracket) makes a little difference to your overall treatment outcomes.

What makes a much greater difference is the knowledge and clinical experience of your specialist orthodontist!


Still have questions about Braces or teeth straightening? We’d love to talk with you. Don’t hesitate to  request an appointment online , over the phone or our website to contact us

Click on the video to know more about teeth alignment and its Treatment Options where Dr. Imran, Orthodontist at The Dental Specialist speaks about it in his Interview (Telugu)

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