Getting braces can be a big decision, especially with all of the choices available nowadays. It may be hard to figure out which option is best for you, especially if you aren’t certain how braces work. The best way to understand your choice is to understand the different parts of braces and how those parts work to straighten your teeth. 

Freeman Orthodontics offers metal and clear ceramic braces that use the Pitts21 self-ligating system. These provide more efficiency, more comfort, and fewer office visits than traditional metal braces. Let’s explore the difference between self-ligating and traditional braces and how the different parts work to create a beautiful smile!

What Are the Parts of Self-Ligating Braces?

Unlike traditional braces, self-ligating braces have fewer parts. This makes them more efficient. Self-ligating braces are some of the newest technology in orthodontic treatment, and they have a lot to offer. They can correct the same issues as traditional braces, but with more efficiency and less time than traditional braces.

Dr. Freeman uses Pitts21 self-ligating braces. He prefers their efficiency and comfort compared to other types of braces. He also uses clear ceramic self-ligating braces for those who aren’t as comfortable with metal brackets. Both types of braces have the same main parts. Let’s take a look!

  • Brackets — These are the tiny metal or ceramic pieces that attach to the tooth. Pitts21 brackets are rounded on the edges for more comfort against your lip. Unlike brackets on traditional braces, the brackets on self-ligating braces have a tiny door on the front that closes over the archwire. This differs from traditional braces that use o-ring elastics that stain and wear out over time, requiring frequent changing. That means you’re at the orthodontist’s office a lot more. But with the self-ligating braces, there are no elastics, so you have fewer visits to our office and more time to enjoy life and the beautiful smile we’re creating!
  • Archwire — This wire stretches across the teeth through the brackets. The archwire pushes or pulls the teeth into place. With traditional braces, the archwire is held in place by o-ring elastics. Pitts21 self-ligating braces use the small door to hold the wire in place, but the door allows the archwire to move more freely. This enables Dr. Freeman to have better control over your treatment, reducing your treatment time!
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When it comes to self-ligating braces, that’s it for the main parts! Other parts can be used in addition to these two main parts. 

  • Hooks — These are tiny posts found on some brackets. The hooks can be used by rubber bands, which can sometimes be stretched between the upper and lower jaw to realign them. The hooks usually go on the side or back brackets rather than the front ones, though they can be used there if necessary.
  • Coil springs — These can be used to either spread two teeth to allow more space for the tooth or teeth in the middle, or they can be used to close gaps between teeth. There are three types: Open, Closed, and Passive. Open coil springs spread teeth to reduce crowding. Closed coil springs eliminate gaps between teeth. Passive coil springs keep the teeth in place while other teeth move around. 
  • Rubber bands — These are different from the o-ring elastics that go around brackets on traditional metal braces. The rubber bands can be placed and removed by the patient. They’re mainly used to realign the upper and lower jaw so your bite is no longer crooked. 

Why Self-Ligating Braces?

Dr. Freeman prefers to use self-ligating braces because of the advantages they offer his patients compared to traditional metal braces. 

  • More efficient — Pitts21 and other self-ligating braces allow the archwire to move freely. The brackets are also placed in the most efficient place possible on the tooth instead of in the center like with traditional braces. These changes apply pressure where it does the most good, speeding up treatment times.
  • More comfortable — Pitts21 braces have metal or clear ceramic brackets that are rounded at the corners instead of square. The lack of corners means less irritation for your lips, cheeks, and tongue, making them far more comfortable. 
  • Fewer office visits — Self-ligating braces don’t hold the archwire in place with tiny elastic bands that can wear out after only a few weeks. Without the need to change out elastics every six weeks or so, visits to the orthodontist’s office are further apart and take less time because you don’t have to spend time changing all those tiny elastic bands.
  • Preserve the smile arc — Traditional metal braces tend to straighten the teeth by making them straight across the smile. Pitts21 and other self-ligating braces take into account the arc of your smile — how your lips curve downward and back up at the corners and how your smile curves around to your cheeks. This is the smile arc, and it is often overlooked with traditional treatments. Pitts 21 braces take the smile arc into account, so your smile is filled by your teeth, and your teeth curve to fit the dip of your lower lip. It makes for a more beautiful, more complete smile.
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What Are the Parts of Traditional Braces?

Traditional metal braces have the same main parts as self-ligating braces: brackets and an archwire. Unlike self-ligating braces, they don’t have doors on the brackets, so there are extra parts with traditional braces. 

  • Bands — These are bigger than brackets and usually fit on the far-back molars. Unlike brackets that are bonded to one surface of the tooth, bands completely encircle the tooth. They contain small tubes through which the ends of the archwires slide, holding the archwire in place. 
  • O-ring elastics — Unlike self-ligating braces, the archwire is held in place by tiny elastic bands that go over the archwire and around the bracket on each tooth. These elastics come in different colors, so they can be fun to customize. However, the clear ones for clear braces tend to stain easily, and the elastics on clear or metal braces tend to wear out after about six weeks. Because of this, they have to be changed out every six weeks. That means more visits to the orthodontist’s office and more time removing the old elastics and replacing them with new ones. 
  • See the Difference With Pitts21 Braces

Pitts21 metal and clear ceramic braces offer several advantages over traditional metal braces. These braces use fewer parts, but they use the parts of braces they do keep more efficiently and more comfortably. Dr. Freeman uses Pitts21 self-ligating braces because he believes they’re better for his patients, providing exceptional results in less time and more comfort than traditional metal braces.

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You can see Pitts21 braces at work if you’re in the San Jose, CA, area. Just request a free evaluation, and Dr. Freeman and his team will show you how self-ligating braces can bring you the smile of your dreams in less time than you may think!

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