Are Damon Self-Ligating Brackets Really All They’re Hyped to Be?

Damon Braces Questions
Stephen, the patient
Dear Dr. S.,
Yesterday, I had a consultation with an orthodontist who told me he’d like to use Damon Braces for my treatment. This orthodontist said these braces can move my teeth 30 percent faster than regular braces, and my treatment could be done three to six months faster than. Is that true?
Sincerely,
Stephen P.
Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Stephen
It sounds like the orthodontist you saw has fallen prey to the marketing hype surrounding Damon Braces and the so-called technology of self-ligating brackets. The company, and then many orthodontists, claim that Damon Braces move the teeth quicker, and often with less pain.Unfortunately, the claims often made by the marketing gurus and even other orthodontists just don’t live up to the hype. In fact, they have not been proven to be true by any clinical trials published in peer reviewed journals (which should be considered the go-to sources for the real facts).

You’ve heard the old adage “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” And that’s exactly what is happening here. A study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics and recent studies from England looked into the claims often made by manufacturers of self-ligating brackets. They found the same thing – there is no significant difference between Damon braces and modern traditional braces.

Damon Braces simply are not more effective at moving teeth. And because they are not more effective at moving teeth, they don’t shorten treatment time, so no orthodontist can accurately tell a patient that treatment can be completed 30 percent faster, or take months off of treatment.

For more information see this post: Are Damon Braces for You?

Sincerely,
Dr. S.


Sarah, the patient
Dear Dr. S.,
My son has been seeing an orthodontist for observation for a while. It’s now time to begin treatment, and the orthodontist says Damon braces are the best option for us because self-ligating brackets are the best new technology available. He also said my son won’t need as many appointments with him, so that would save us time and allow the treatment to fit better into our busy lifestyle. I want my son to have the best, so is the orthodontist right?
Sincerely,
Carol M.
Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Carol,
First, it’s important to remember that self-ligating braces aren’t a new technology. These kind of braces have been around for years. They were first introduced in the 1970s, but in recent years Damon Braces and a few other brands have charged the marketplace claiming to be a new, innovative technology.Another way orthodontists (and the marketers behind Damon braces and other technologies like it) try to sell it is by telling you that they will require fewer office visits, making them more convenient for people who lead busy lifestyles. In fact, you’ll see this claim on many other orthodontist’s websites. But, the plain truth is – it’s not a fact.

The marketing companies base this idea on the claim that Damon Braces work more efficiently, so they require less adjustment. But, that just isn’t true. No study done by any peer reviewed journals, the go-to sources for true and accurate information, have found these claims to be valid.

You need to find an orthodontist for your son who treats your son with the best treatment options available, not just the latest trend.

Sincerely,
Dr. S.


Peter, the patient
Dear Dr. S.,
My orthodontist has suggested Damon Braces for me. I love everything he’s told me about them, except the price tag. He said they’ll cost around $500 more than regular braces. So Dr. S., are they worth the additional investment?
Sincerely,
Peter R.
Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Peter,
The quick and to the point answer is no, Damon Braces are not worth the extra cost on your part. They do not move teeth quicker and are not more efficient than traditional braces. All you’re getting for the extra cost is the name, and not actual results to back it up. If you want effective treatment, you need to see an orthodontist who is committed to not just embracing technology, but who offers a wide variety of treatment options and who offers individualized care with proven outcomes.Sincerely,
Dr. S.


Thomas, the patient
Dear Dr. S.,
My daughter’s orthodontist has told us that Damon Braces can more efficiently move her teeth, and that they will take a lot of time off of her treatment. But when I asked him to be specific and provide studies and real patients this was true for, he waffled and told us that there are a lot of factors that go in to tooth movement. Now I’m not sure we can believe his original claims. What should we do?
Sincerely,
Thomas W.
Dr. Michael Stosich
Dear Thomas,
Your daughter’s orthodontist is right about one thing – there are a lot of factors that go into how teeth will respond to orthodontic treatment. It’s impossible to make a blanket claim about self-ligating braces moving teeth so much faster, because everyone is different and has mouths that will respond differently to treatment. And that’s why your orthodontist started to backtrack on his original claims.Technology is wonderful, but it means nothing if your orthodontist doesn’t have the skill and expertise needed to treat your child’s issue. Every patient has to be treated like an individual. It doesn’t matter how many overbites I’ve seen in my career- each one is a bit different from the previous one, and each person’s mouth will respond differently to treatment.

The only surefire way to take time off of treatment is by seeing an orthodontist who knows that. Your orthodontist must be committed to providing highly specialized and individualized care. Traditional braces, when in the hands of a properly trained orthodontist, can be incredibly efficient and highly customized.

Rather than relying on marketing gimmicks, orthodontists must put in the careful planning and work before even beginning treatment to ensure a patient has the best treatment plan possible that will result in the most efficient tooth movement possible.

A beautiful new smile can’t come just from putting your hopes in the latest technology, but instead comes from hard work and careful planning.

For more information about treatment time see this post: What’s the Key to Shorter Orthodontic Treatment Time?

Sincerely,
Dr. S.

Dr. Michael Stosich
Meet Dr. Michael Stosich, Your Local Orthodontist

Dr. Michael Stosich is a board certified orthodontist in Chicagoland with two private practices. Dr. S serves patients of all ages, children, teens, and adults and is the top rated orthodontist in Illinois. He is the director of orthodontics at the University of Chicago Medicine and Comer Children's Hospital, and a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. Dr. S is awarded for his extensive research in accelerated tooth movement and patient centered care.

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AUTHOR: Michael Stosich

Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, is a specialist orthodontist for children and adults with subspecialty expertise in robotically assisted orthodontics. Dr. Stosich serves as the orthodontic director at the University of Chicago's cleft lip and palate clinic and craniofacial anomalies clinic, which treats complex pediatric craniofacial anomalies.