Self Ligating Braces

The Complete Guide to Self Ligating Braces

By  Dr. Tyler Coles – Premier Orthodontics

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If you’re thinking about getting braces for you or your child, you may have heard about self ligating braces. Well, it’s time to talk, in detail, about what self ligating braces are. This article will break down the definition and uses of self ligating braces, the specific benefits of self ligating braces, and why you might consider choosing self ligating braces for you or your child.

What are Self Ligating Braces?

Before we talk specifically about self ligating braces, let’s break down how all braces work.  There are three key parts to any braces system…

  1. Brackets
  2. Archwires
  3. O-ties, Ligatures or Clips
brackets for braces
Brackets
archwires
Archwires
o-ties
O-Ties

The bracket is the part that is bonded to your teeth. In this way it acts as a handle. The archwire is a flexible wire that pulls your teeth into the proper position. Its function is to actually move the teeth. The o-tie, ligature, or clip is how the archwire attaches to the bracket.

Traditional braces, what orthodontists call “twin brackets”, require an o-tie (a small colored elastic) to engage the archwire to your teeth. (see the picture below)

Twin brackets using o-ties to engage the archwire
Twin brackets using o-ties to engage the archwire

What makes self ligating brackets different is that they use a clip mechanism instead of an o-tie to engage the archwire into the bracket. The term “ligate” literally means to tie up or close off. To “self ligate” is to tie up or close off on its own. Self ligating braces attach the wire without the use of any other materials.

Self ligating braces use a clip to hold the archwire instead of o-ties
Self ligating braces use a clip to hold the archwire instead of o-ties

What are the Advantages of Self Ligating Braces?

Now that we know what self ligating braces are, you’re probably wondering why you would choose one type over another.

Here are a few distinct advantages over traditional twin braces. 

Faster Appointment Times

Self ligating braces help speed up your orthodontic appointments. Here’s why… 

With twin brackets, an orthodontist or orthodontic technician will have to remove all the o-ties at the start of each appointment, and then place them all back on at the end of your appointment.  This adds significant time to the front and back parts of your scheduled appointment….

twin brackets
O-ties on twin brackets have to be removed at the start of each appointment and replaced at the end.

With self ligating braces, this process is sped up. Placing and removing of o-ties is completely eliminated and all that is required is to simply open and close the clips on the braces.

Less Total Appointments at the Orthodontist

The o-ties used to attach the wires to twin braces wear out over time. These o-ties usually need to be replaced every four weeks, which means most of the time you will have to be seen at four week intervals for your braces.

With self ligating braces, the clips hold securely, which means it is not necessary to replace the o ties every four weeks.  Most of the time, you can be seen every eight weeks. That’s half the visits to the orthodontist… 

Imagine how much more time you’ll save, including days you don’t have to take off work or your child doesn’t have to skip school… 

…plus, when you do come in for an appointment, it will go faster than any appointment with twin braces.

More Predictable Tooth Movement = Less Time in Braces!

The main reason we love self ligating braces at Premier Orthodontics is the experience that you or your child will have wearing them. The brackets hold the wires very securely. The elastic o-ties on twin braces will stretch and fatigue over time, which means that the wires won’t work as efficiently.

With self ligating braces the wires are held securely in place, so the teeth move more predictably. We’ve found at our office that treating patients with self ligating braces helps to reduce the total time in braces up to 6 months!

Differences Between Ceramic Self Ligating Braces and Metal Self Ligating Braces

Here’s something we haven’t talked about yet. Did you know there are two different categories of self ligating braces? We’ll discuss each below:

Metal Self Ligating Braces

Metal self ligating braces are great for patients that want to show off their braces or decorate with different colors.  With metal self ligating braces you still have the option of using o-ties to decorate your braces — but with self ligating braces they are just for decorations and style.  

Metal self ligating braces are great for adults and kids that want to enjoy the full look and style of braces. You can still decorate your braces with colored o-ties , plus get all the benefits that come with self ligating braces.

You can still place color on metal self ligating braces for decoration if you’d like!
You can still place color on metal self ligating braces for decoration if you’d like!

Clear Ceramic Self Ligating Braces

You may have hard that clear braces stain and turn yellow…

…this isn’t EXACTLY true. The clear o-ties that are used with traditional (or twin) clear braces stain and turn yellow.

The o-tie on clear twin brackets stain over time
The o-tie on clear twin brackets stain over time

With ceramic self ligating braces, staining of o-ties is no longer a problem!  Let’s explain how it works. Clear self ligating braces use a clip to hold the wire in, so there’s no problem with staining or discoloration.

Self Ligating Braces
Clear self ligating braces don’t stain or discolor over time.

Clear self ligating braces are great for kids or adults who want to straighten their teeth, but don’t want it to be as noticeable as other options. 

Self Ligating Braces - Before and After

Below are some actual patients treated at Premier Orthodontics using self ligating braces.

Kids Treated with Self Ligating Braces at Premier Orthodontics

before and after clear braces
before and after clear braces
before and after clear braces

Kids Treated with Self Ligating Braces at Premier Orthodontics

adult before and after clear braces
adult before and after clear braces
adult before and after clear braces

How Much Do Self Ligating Braces Cost?

To be honest, the cost will vary from one office to the next. Click here to learn more about the cost of braces with Premier Orthodontics. 

Each orthodontic office may be different, but in general most orthodontists won’t charge you extra.

Self Ligating Braces in Phoenix, Chandler, Maricopa, Anthem, and Casa Grande

Premier Orthodontics has 7 locations  providing braces and Invisalign in Phoenix, Chandler, Gilbert, Maricopa, Casa Grande, Glendale, and Anthem/Carefree as well as the surrounding areas. 

Schedule your free consultation for self ligating braces or read our comprehensive guide to the cost of braces . (We are very transparent about our process and our pricing, as you’ll see in this guide.)

Schedule a Free Braces Consultation For You or Your Child

Thinking about getting started with braces?

You can schedule a 100% free consultation and find out if clear braces the best choice for you.

Whether you’re thinking about braces for kidsbraces for an adult, or even Invisalign, we’ve got you covered!

Click below to learn how you can get started with braces  for as low as $97/month!

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