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Self-ligating braces are defined as "a [dental] brace, which utilizes a permanently installed, moveable component to entrap the archwire". Self-ligating braces may be classified into two categories: Passive and Active.
One of the most significant differences from conventional dental braces is the absence of elastic ligature (bands or ties). Self-ligating braces typically are smaller and more aesthetic since a metal door is required to hold wires in place (this prevents "invisible" or clear options of these braces, with the exception of 3M Unitek who have devised a hybrid bracket called the "Smartclip"). They also tend to stand off the teeth further toward the lips and cheeks. The ties on this type of brace are used to hold the archwire in place. The self-ligating braces uses a slide mechanism to hold the archwire, thus reducing the amount of pressure exerted on the teeth. However, there are many similarities to typical braces, such as the fitting on such appliances; self-ligating braces are glued onto the teeth and are not removable until treatment is complete. Regular cleaning is also essential for effective treatment and desirable results. The consumption of too much sugar (in food, and especially drinks) and poor dental hygiene can result in demineralisation which can lead to permanent damage, dental caries (decay).
Analysis has also shown treatment times are also reportedly longer when self ligated orthodontic brackets are used compared to conventional orthodontic brackets