Orthodontic tooth movement is a bone healing response, which is the same physiological process that occurs when a broken bone heals. As we are aware in order for any injury to heal well and quickly we need a good blood supply to the area. This applies to the process of tooth movement and is where a lot of orthodontic research has been concentrated.
In order to maintain a good blood supply and to optimise the bone healing response modern passive self-ligating braces (Damon Braces) have been designed to reduce the friction between the wire (force) and the brackets (braces) bonded to the teeth. This System has in built sliding clips that can be opened and closed to capture the wire without impingement thus reducing the friction to an absolute minimum.This reduced friction allows lighter forces to be imparted to the tooth, which maintains a good blood supply and the teeth move quickly and continually.
The older more traditional brace systems use mini elastic ties (colours), which are hooked around each brace to hold the wire in position. These elastic ties impinge on to the wire quite tightly producing a large frictional resistance, which requires a much stronger force to produce tooth movement. With this excessive pressure the blood supply is compromised and nothing happens until the pressure dissipates allowing the blood to return to the area and only then do the teeth move. This obviously is a much slower process, which can extend the treatment time for six months or more and also there is an increased risk of damage to the surrounding bone and to the roots of the teeth.
It is these elastic ties that are made in many different colours which does introduce an element of fun to wearing braces. Unfortunately it is these very fun coloured elastics that slow down the treatment progress and also absorb bacteria from the saliva, which can contribute to gum disease and even marks on the teeth.
The Damon braces is a very intricate in design and manufacture, which does make it substantially more efficient. There is a reduction in chair side time, shortened overall treatment time and much lower degrees of discomfort with the lighter forces and smoother brackets.