AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

How Long Do Self-Ligating Braces Take?

There are a lot of different braces out there, and each type has its own benefits. Are you a little overwhelmed with your options? Our team at Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX, is here with some helpful information on self ligating braces, also known as SLB, and how they work.

How Long Do Self-Ligating Braces Take?

Expect To Wear Your Braces for 12 to 24 Months

Each person’s needs are individual, so how long you can expect to wear your self ligating braces will partly depend on your dental goals and needs. In general, you can expect 12 to 24 months of wearing these braces, with some patients able to get them off earlier, and others benefitting from more time.

Less Friction Can Mean Faster Results

When teeth are already relatively straight, and we’re able to use small, round wires, these braces are an excellent way to reduce friction on your teeth. This reduced friction means your teeth should be able to move more freely, and may help diminish the amount of time you need to wear your braces.

It’s important to note that while these braces may help speed the process of aligning your teeth, our team won’t be cutting any corners. We want you to have results that will thrill you and last the long-run. When you come in for a consultation, we can evaluate your smile and give you a more specific individual timeline.

Factors That Can Impact Treatment Time

Genetic Factors

Something that can be pretty hard to determine right off the bat is how your genes may interfere with your dental journey.

Some patients naturally “take” to treatment a lot faster than others. Moving teeth safely and effectively is a complicated process, which is why an experienced team that knows how to work with each unique case is so important when it comes to achieving that perfect smile.


It can be frustrating to cut certain foods from your diet while wearing braces, but it’s crucial to protect your braces. When braces are damaged, they aren’t able to do their job properly, which can extend your treatment time. If you take good care of your braces, your braces will take good care of your teeth.

Oral Hygiene

These braces are bonded to your teeth the same way traditional braces are. Anything that’s bad for your teeth tends to be bad news for your braces too. Limiting overly hard snacks, food or drink with a high acidic content, and excessive sugar can help keep your teeth and braces in good shape throughout your treatment.

Patients with braces have to pay special attention to tooth care and cleaning to help prevent cavities. Keep up your good brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits to flush out bits of food that may have become lodged in your teeth or the braces themselves.

Some Good News About Oral Hygiene

One of the best aspects of self ligating braces is they make your daily oral care routine a lot easier when compared to traditional braces. With no rubber, elastic, or metal ties getting in the way, it’s much simpler to work around the braces and get a good cleaning in.

By helping you more effectively care for your teeth, these braces can help protect your health while still doing a great job at correcting your smile.

Other Benefits of Self Ligating Braces

A Low Profile Appearance

Some patients love to customize their braces with colorful ties, but for others this isn’t something they look forward to at all. If you aren’t excited with the idea of colorful elastics, using SLB technology instead will make your braces more low-profile.

They May Reduce Your Number of Required Adjustments

Who doesn’t want to limit their trips to the dentist? Coming in for adjustments is necessary, but it can be a time-consuming process. The way these braces are designed can allow some patients to space out their adjustments a little more than patients with traditional braces. Of course, this also depends on your needs and various other factors.

If one of your goals is to have braces that let you space out your adjustments, let us know that during a consultation. We’ll do our best to work with you and set up a treatment plan that meets your needs and also respects your time. In the end, the most important thing is that you have great results, so if we think you would benefit from the traditional number of adjustments, we’ll tell you.

Shorter Office Visits

While these braces can help reduce office visits, they can’t eliminate them altogether. That’s where another benefit comes in. Adjusting these braces tends to be a quicker process than having to replace or adjust a bunch of ties. This usually translates to shorter appointments. Not only is this a time saver, but knowing that your visits are going to be as quick as possible can help reduce stress.

They May Improve Comfort

The free movement of the archwire can help increase the efficiency of tooth movement, but it can also improve the comfort of the process.

Reduce Plaque

Since these braces are easier to clean, it’s also much easier to keep plaque in check. Elastics can be tricky to work around, and the elastics themselves can start to get coated in plaque. Self ligating technology removes this factor altogether. With these braces, it should be easier to avoid tartar build-up, and keep your teeth glistening and your breath fresh.


1. How Do These Braces Work?

The technology behind orthodontics is constantly evolving and being improved upon. Braces that are self ligating are a clear example of one of those improvements. While traditional braces can still be an excellent treatment option, SLB can take some of the downsides associated with traditional braces and improve upon them.

Traditional braces use a bracket and archwire system, which is held in place by ties of some sort. When the ties are gradually tightened, it causes the wire to “guide” your teeth into a more correct position over time. With the use of SLB, ties are no longer needed. Instead, they have clips that will hold your archwire in place.

2. Are There Different Kinds of SLB?

Yes, actually! There are a couple of different options available if you’re looking into these braces. Both of them have different benefits depending on your needs, and our office will be able to give you advice about what we think would be the best fit for you.

The Passive Option

Passive self ligating technology aims to give the appliance a wider range of motion and reduce friction by using smaller archwires and maximizing the space between brackets.

They have different brackets than active SLB. This is a popular option to make the beginning of treatment as comfortable as possible and can be an especially good call for patients who are looking for more minor corrections.

The Active Option

With a thicker archwire in use, active SLB can put more pressure onto the teeth. That means they may be better equipped to handle cases that need more serious dental corrections. The self ligating design of these brackets still encourages less friction than traditional braces, even when a thicker archwire is used.

Both options can work well, it all really boils down to your needs. For either SLB option, you will be able to enjoy all the benefits of self ligating technology, just in slightly different forms.

3. What Can Be Treated With SLB?

These braces are able to tackle a range of orthodontic conditions. The technology behind SLB has taken some of the best aspects of traditional metal braces, while still making improvements on how braces work. With that in mind, any orthodontic concerns that can be handled by traditional braces can usually be handled by self ligating braces too.

Some concerns that are commonly treated with these braces include:

  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Overbite and overjet

4. How Do They Compare to Invisalign?

Invisalign can help many patients who want some minor adjustments to their teeth, but don’t want to get braces. That said, clear aligners do have their limits.

If the idea of Invisalign appeals to you, but it’s determined that your teeth need something better equipped to handle major corrections, it’s possible we could start you off with SLB and move onto Invisalign after your teeth have been adjusted a little bit.

Ready To Explore Your Options?

Our team knows how important it is to offer a variety of products so we can help as many patients as possible. We offer a wide range of different braces and aligners. Contact us at Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX, today to learn more about how our team can help you get your smile back on track.