Self-Ligating (“Speed”) Braces. So what’s the difference?

With traditional braces, the average treatment time is about 18 months and for some people, that is entirely too much time wearing braces.  One of the most common questions people ask me is how they can accelerate their treatment to be finished with their braces sooner.  My answer is that we can use several new technologies to accelerate the treatment without compromising on safety or quality.  One such technology is “self-ligating braces.”

Traditional braces use tiny elastics to connect the braces to a wire that moves the teeth.  But these elastics cause friction between the braces and the wire, acting like “brakes” to slow down the movement of teeth (see video below).  With self-ligating braces, these elastics are not used and the braces are free to slide along the wire.


Listen to Dr. Kellerstein explain exactly how Self Ligating braces work in this brief video.  For more videos, please be sure to visit our youtube channel or visit our before and after gallery here to see more examples of smile transformations with orthodontics.


There are many brand-names for self-ligating brackets on the market – Speed braces, Damon braces, Empower braces, just to name a few.  They all work similarly well, in spite of what their advertising campaigns might tell you.

Now, self-ligating braces don’t always reduce treatment time – it depends on the problem being treated.  But they certainly work faster in cases where spaces must be closed – either because gaps were naturally present between the teeth, or because teeth had to be extracted.  For such cases, self-ligating braces can reduce treatment time by 4-6 months.

So if your goal is to straighten your teeth as quickly as possible without compromising on the safety or quality of the finished results, talk to us about self-ligating braces.  Combined with other options such as Indirect Bonding and Acceledent, we can get you the best results in the least time possible.