Self-Adjusting Braces: How Do They Work, And Why Should You Choose Them?

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Are you considering getting braces as an adult? There are a lot of choices regarding the type of braces available to you. Advances in dental technology have made braces less visible and able to work faster than they did in the past. You likely won't have an awkward mouth full of metal for years to come if you want straight teeth. One of the choices your orthodontic dentist may present you is self-adjusting braces (also known as self-ligating braces). Here's how they work, along with three good reasons for you to select them to straighten your teeth.

How Self-Adjusting Braces Work

These braces don't use ligatures (little rubber bands on the brackets that hold the wire in place). Instead, the brackets have built-in clips to keep the wire where it belongs. The brackets can be opened or closed to move the wire or replace it, as necessary. The wire slides easily along through the clips, adjusting to fit the position of your teeth as they move.

Because the wire moves along with your teeth, you will require fewer trips to the dentist to get adjustments. The braces will also do their work more quickly than traditional ligature-based ones, so you can get them off and get on with your life without waiting for years. They are metal braces that are visible on the front of your teeth, but the brackets are much smaller than on the traditional kind, so the look is more subtle.

Three Reasons Why You Should Wear Self-Adjusting Braces

If you're going to get braces, the self-adjusting type are excellent for many reasons. Here are the top three:

1. They Are Easier to Clean Than Traditional Braces

While you'll still get food stuck between the wire and your teeth, you won't get any stuck in ligatures. Those tiny rubber bands on traditional braces attract a lot of food debris, and it's difficult to get it all out when you clean your teeth. The time you spend brushing and flossing is dramatically increased because of this.

Ligatures can also attract plaque if they are not cleaned properly. This plaque can lead to tooth decay, just as it can on the surface of a tooth. You will keep cleaner, healthier teeth with self-adjusting braces, which is definitely a good thing. If you're spending the money on braces, you don't want to have to get a mouth full of fillings when they come off.

2. They Cause Less Pain

Each time your braces get adjusted, your teeth will be sore for days afterward. Sometimes, it's even bad enough to have to take pain killers and restrict your diet to soft foods until your teeth get used to their new positions.

According to Healthy Denver, self-adjusting braces require far fewer visits to the dentist for adjusting. As a result, you will have many more days without pain in your mouth than you would with traditional braces.

3. You Probably Won't Need to Get Any Teeth Pulled

With traditional braces, some molars usually need to be pulled before putting them on. This opens up room in the mouth for the teeth to move. Self-adjusting braces rarely require the removal of any teeth. The way the wire moves causes the teeth to move into the straightest position available to them without any extra room necessary. Headgear is also almost unheard of with the use of self-adjusting braces.


While there are invisible braces (sometimes called tooth aligners), not everyone is a good candidate for them. There are also clear ceramic braces that blend in with your teeth, but these are simply clear traditional braces, with all of the issues the ligatures bring.

If you want braces that are simple to maintain, cause very little pain, work quickly, and can do the job without pulling any of your teeth, self-adjusting braces may be the right choice for you. Talk to your dentist about getting them today.