All About Self-Ligating Braces

Updated: 30 Jan 24


Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces, or self-locking braces, utilize a system integrated into brackets to keep the archwire in place.

Before diving deep into these types of braces, let’s first discuss how braces work:

Braces are orthodontic devices that help correct your crowded, crooked, gapped, or rotated teeth and jaw alignment. There are three parts of a brace, namely brackets, archwire, and connecting mechanism. 

  1. Little metal attachments called brackets are attached to your teeth. 
  2. A very fine metal wire called archwire passes from one bracket to the net, providing force that brings the teeth to the correct position. 
  3. Connecting mechanisms that hold archwire with teeth can be o-ties or clips.

Traditional braces require elastic ties to connect archwire with teeth. On the contrary, self-ligating braces have brackets with specialized doors or clips that hold the archwire to the brackets. 

Self-Ligating Braces – Definition

Ligate means to tie; hence, ‘self-ligating’ means to connect on its own.

There are two types of ligating braces:

  1. Active brackets use a spring clip on the archwire to exert an active force.
  2. Passive brackets use a sliding mechanism.

Self Ligating Vs. Traditional Braces

  1. Connecting Mechanism

Conventional braces use bands or metal ties to hold the archwire, whereas self-ligating braces utilize clips attached to brackets to keep the archwire in its place.

  1. Faster Appointment Time

For traditional braces, dentists must open all the ties and then close them again. Self-ligating braces do not require any o-ties, so the process is sped up.

  1. Reduced Number of Appointments

Elastic ties used in traditional braces wear out very often. They need to be replaced every month. However, ligating braces do not have such issues, so that the appointments can be scheduled for eight weeks. Thus reducing the total number of visits to half.

  1. Treatment Time

Traditional brace treatment time usually ranges from 1 to 3 years or more, depending on case complexity. 

However, self-ligating braces provide faster results, approximately 18-24 months, because with these braces, the archwire is held securely in place, so teeth move more predictably. Thus reducing total time in braces.

  1. Cost

These braces are expensive compared to conventional ones because they are an advanced technology, and their manufacturing is costly.

  1. Comfort

Since self-ligating braces do not require elastic ties, treatment is more streamlined and comfortable, consequently, visits to orthodontists are greatly reduced. 

Furthermore, The ligating mechanism allows less friction between braces and wire providing greater movement to teeth and reducing the pain and discomfort. 

  1. Cleanliness

These braces are easier to take care of cleanliness since no modules are required. In traditional braces, decolorizing elastic ties with time results in microscopic holes in which food particles might get trapped, increasing the chances of plaque formation.

Ceramic Self-Ligating Braces

Regarding self-ligating braces, there are two choices available, metal and ceramic ligating braces.

Ceramic ligating braces use ceramic brackets instead of metal ones. Both are the same in terms of efficiency, but ceramic ligating braces are a bit costly due to the use of ceramic material.

Ceramic brackets are clear and blend in naturally with your teeth. They are the best option for people who do not want their braces to get noticed by everyone. 

Furthermore, they can be less troublesome during MRI scans when metal brackets can cause picture distortion and signal loss.

However, ceramic brackets require more care as compared to metal ones. Because they are sensitive and can stain over time if not taken care of properly.

Moreover, the chances of fracture are also increased as ceramic is brittle. Additionally, there is a higher risk of enamel demineralization.

Therefore, if you are looking for an economical yet effective solution, go for metal brackets. Think about them and set your priorities right. And if you are more concerned about your looks and aesthetics, then opt for ceramic ones.

Self-Ligating Braces Colors

Self-ligating braces do not use any elastic bands so there are no color choices. You can only choose between metal or silver color brackets. If you are more like a color-oriented person, go for metal brackets and play with different colors. 

Additionally, self-ligating braces are for people who do not want to show off their braces. This can be due to many reasons. But if you are someone who doesn’t want attention towards your mouth you can go for ceramic braces which are clear and camouflaged with your teeth.

Cost of Self-Ligating Braces

Self-ligating braces are more expensive due to their manufacturing process, delicacy, and advanced technology. You will see a noticeable difference when you compare them to other orthodontic braces.

Furthermore, the cost may also vary depending on case complexity, treatment duration, and orthodontist. According to Consumer Affairs, self-ligating braces range from $3000 to $7000.


In a nutshell, self-ligating braces are a good alternative for correcting misaligned teeth due to faster results, a faster speed-up process, comfort, and hygiene. 

Though they cost you more than conventional braces, ligating braces are still cheaper than other orthodontic treatments.

Moreover, everything depends on each person’s own differences, priorities, and style. Choose the one in which you feel more comfortable and relaxed. After all, these treatments will not last your whole life.


  1. What are self-ligating braces?

Self-ligating braces are an orthodontic treatment. Basically, it is a type of brace that utilizes a clip-type mechanism to secure the archwire to brackets, unlike traditional braces that use elastic ties to hold the archwire.

  1. Are self-ligating braces better?

The chances of food traps are reduced with self-ligating braces. It makes maintaining and oral hygiene easier. Moreover, they are more comfortable because they allow more tooth movement by reducing friction. The best thing about them is that treatment time is also reduced.

  1. What are the disadvantages of self-ligating braces?

Along with all the advantages, ligating braces has a few disadvantages. First of all, they are more expensive than traditional ones. Moreover, the bracket may break or the ligation might open accidentally resulting in discomfort.

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Jamal Hussain

Jamal Hussain

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