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Are Damon braces really better than regular braces?

Are Damon braces really better than regular braces?

YES, they are better (but there are caveats). Below is a GIF of how the Damon braces can correct complex teeth crowding. Now, before I list the benefits of getting Damon braces, let’s discuss how these 2 orthodontic systems differ.

Traditional Metal Braces vs Damon Braces

 

Metal braces – with ligatures

Orthodontics is many times related to those “metal mouth” looks the patients have got. One of the “classical” ways to work on this treatment is to wear metal braces. These can have 2 systems to keep the brackets “closed”: by using elastic ligatures or by having the brackets “close” themselves through a new system. The latter ones are called “self-ligating” braces and we can give you as an example the most famous type: Damon.

Metal braces with ligatures

In this section, we’ll discuss about the “old style” braces, that have no self-ligating system, but are still widely used with great results. Even if they are not as “modern” as other orthodontic braces, their efficiency is good and many patients have got excellent results and straight teeth now. This type will also help us understand how the braces work in the end to make us have that wonderful smile.
Here is how metal braces look. Some people mistake and call the entire system “brackets”, but the bracket is one of the elements that go on each tooth, while the entire “collection” of brackets, arches and ligatures is what we call braces. We’ll also try to identify each element so that you can understand better:

  1. Archwire – this is the “wire” that holds all elements in place. The arch goes from left to right and the brackets are connected to it. This element is of a huge importance since it’s the one to “force” the teeth into their proper position together with the elastics. At first the archwire looks “jagged” since the brackets are placed at the same distance from the end of the tooth. Since one tooth is placed higher than the other, the patient will have a “crooked” archwire. The wire tends to go to its original form, thus forcing the teeth to go up or down or rotate until they are all set.
  2. The ligatures – at this “classical” type of braces, the brackets don’t have their own ligating system so we need ligatures to ‘tie” them to the archwire. Many patients chose a rainbow of possible colors thus making their braces look very nice. This is their chance to get creative.
  3. Bracket – this is the “jewel” that’s getting stuck on your teeth by using a strong “glue” (bonder). The bracket will take the force from the archwire and the elastics and “translate” it to the tooth. The brackets are different from one tooth type to the other so that they can all work the best they can for a perfect smile.
  4. Elastics – these might get used in order to help with the jaw problems. They can be worn some hours a day or even permanently (this means few weeks, don’t get too scared). Many patients dislike them since they can speak with difficulty and it’s not pleasant, but they are an important part in their treatment and it’s a good idea to stick to it. The results make it worth the effort.
  5. Together with these elements your orthodontist might also use others: buttons, mini-molds, powerchains etc. This choice is based on your own conditions and the complexity of your orthodontic case. For people with sever misalignments the “arsenal” can be quite serious.

Advantages of Traditional Braces

  • This is the less expensive treatment
  • All orthodontists can work with this
  • Most health insurance cover the treatment
  • they are strong and hard to “break”
  • they work very nicely and the results are amazing
  • you can already get gold-plated ones if you just want to feel different
  • the ligatures can really look nice, if you know how to blend the colors, while making your braces less dull and impersonal

What are the disadvantages of Traditional Braces?

  • such as in any metal brace type these braces are easily to spot
  • some patients dislike the “metal mouth” look
  • the ligatures can change color (due to eating or drinking), especially the white ones
  • the first days in treatment are hard, but then it all solves nicely
  • many patients have mouth sores because of the brackets, this gets solved with dental wax and in some days you won’t have this problem anymore
  • there are more modern systems that would work faster or be more discreet

Still, for many orthodontic patients the metal braces with those colorful ligatures do an excellent job. A huge percentage of the people who are into this treatment still use this system with excellent results. In the end it’s not all about the braces, the patient is the one who can make or break a treatment.

Damon braces – metal self-ligating brackets

As I mentioned before in the first section, the metal braces can be of 2 main categories: the braces with brackets that have their own system to connect to the archwire (self-ligating) and the ones that need ligatures to do this. This article will present the self-ligating bracket braces; the best known being the Damon braces.

These are still metal braces, but with a revolutionary ligating system, excellent results and in many cases no need for extractions. The system was created by the orthodontist Dwight Damon.

In many cases for the adults who cannot wear palatal expanders (it’s useless since they are no more kids so their bone structure now is final) extractions are needed. When the teeth are too big for the small mouth, the only way to make them “fit” is to extract some (usually the first pre-molars are extracted thus leaving enough space that will not show. The Damon System doesn’t require extractions all the time since it can solve the problems without any teeth being pulled.

In my case for instance extractions were needed since my teeth were way too large for them to fit. In this case the Damon braces needed these extractions too so that they can arrange the teeth properly. It all depends on your personal case and the way your orthodontist sees your treatment.

The good thing about the Damon braces is they no longer need those colorful ligatures. Sure, they can be cute, but why use them if we can do without? This is what Damon thought when he implemented the “sliding-doors” system on the brackets that close and open with no external help from ligatures.

The Damon braces have their brackets smaller (there are already some partially ceramic ones) and they look pretty good. I haven’t worn braces on all teeth, but I saw many patients who were fully braced and their braces really looked nice. The small stainless steel brackets looked like small silver jewels on their teeth.

And, if you want a funny aspect: they do attract the magnet. Yeah, I tried it too.

Advantages of the Damon braces

  • the brackets are smaller and look pretty nice
  • no ligatures mean less chances to catch all that food in there
  • they work faster and the results are sometimes astounding (in my case I had an incisor move 7 mm in just 4 months)
  • it’s a new system and it’s getting improved constantly.

Disadvantages of Damon braces

  • they are still metal braces and offer you that “metal mouth” look
  • the treatment is more costly than in the “classical” braces case
  • the orthodontists need to be accredited to use the system. For a list of them, please consult the official DAMON site.
  • the treatment can be painful in the first days, you’ll also have mouth sores (treatable with dental wax).

Still the Damon System is a great idea if you want to have a good metal braces orthodontic treatment. I used them for just 7 months in preparation for the Invisalign treatment, but the results were just amazing.

So – Why are Damon Braces a Better Choice Overall?

The Damon braces do cost more than the regular braces and in some cases the dental insurance might not cover this difference. Still you are lucky .. in my country no orthodontic treatment is covered by the insurance, but this is something different, so I need not digress.

In order for a doctor to be able to work with Damon, he/she needs to be accredited. This would be another small set-back since some orthodontists are not licensed to use this. Most top doctors do have the certification so it’s not such a huge deal in the end.

And now back to the subject at hand: why the Damon braces are better than the regular ones.

  1. No ligatures, smaller brackets – the self-ligating system on the brackets make Damon better. You don’t need ligatures on your brackets and the brackets themselves are smaller. Some are already partially “clear” so it makes them even harder to see. More discreet braces help with the aesthetics too.
  2. Some patients don’t need extractions – there are cases when the the Damon system can solve the problem without extractions. Sure, even if they do advertise this, it does depend on the patient. The thing is that when regular braces required extractions, Damon might solve this without them. Still there are patients with problems that can’t be solved other than having extractions. I was such a case. Damon was able to solve my huge problems (rotating teeth, teeth that were mis-positioned not only misaligned), but still needed the space to work (since I do have big teeth).
  3. Faster treatment – some claim Damon works in half the time. I read about patients with regular braces and they needed over 20 months in treatment for complex cases. Even 3 years. If I wanted Damon only, my problems would have gotten solved in 14 months. I saw HUGE progress in just weeks. After 3 times in the treatment my teeth looked amazing already. Damon is a very serious system and the braces “don’t play”, they work.
  4. Overall Damon is not as hard to wear. After solving some sores in my mouth and getting pass the first painful days (all braces do this, the pain means the treatment is working), I really liked it. I know it might sound like I am a “masochist”, but it’s not that hard. The braces weren’t too big and I was able to have almost a normal life. And the Damon braces do look nice. I was scared at first for having a metal mouth (the reason I chose to wear Invisalign for my front teeth, after the lateral ones were getting straightened with Damon) and I regretted this decision after seeing some patients who wore full Damon. They looked pretty nice, as if they had some silver jewels on their teeth.

Damon braces are considered to be the “new generation” braces. My orthodontist doesn’t use the regular ones for some years already. He’s using Damon, ceramics, Incognito and Invisalign. I wore Damon 3 braces and so did many of his patients. The Damon braces use the ideas that made the regular ones work nice for years, but offer faster results, with less “equipment” needed (not ligatures on the brackets), with a better aspect and more discreet brackets.

If you can afford Damon, I do advise you to go on this route. Regular braces do work nicely, but Damon does work BETTER.