Dr. Greg Jorgensen
(505) 891-9440
1401 Barbara Loop SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

The Jorgensen Orthodontics Blog

Do Damon Braces Really Move Teeth Faster?

Posted by Dr. Jorgensen on January 9th, 2012

DamonQWe all want everything faster. You may have heard that Damon braces can straighten your teeth faster, with fewer appointments, and without extractions or expanders. What is the Damon System and is it better than regular braces?

First of all, I need to make a disclosure. I use Damon brackets and I love them. They are currently in their fourth revision and I’ve been a fan ever since they came out in the early 90’s. Having said that, there are myths about what they can and can’t do, and I’d like to share my opinion based upon 20 years of experience.

Damon brackets are a type of bracket known as self-ligating. To “ligate” means to bind or tie. With conventional braces, the wires are held in place by ligatures or o-rings that secure them to the brackets (which are the metal pieces attached to the teeth). With self-ligating braces, part of the bracket itself holds the wire in place without the need for o-rings or steel ties. Some brackets have doors or “slides.” Others have clips. The Damon bracket was not the first self-ligating bracket, but I believe it is the best.

Some of the claims about Damon brackets are that they won’t cause pain as they move your teeth, you won’t need to have an expander or have permanent teeth removed, you won’t need headgear or rubber bands to fix your overbite, and that your treatment will be much shorter than with regular braces. Here’s what I have seen at Jorgensen Orthodontics (and what has been supported by actual research):

If your teeth are being moved (Damon, Invisalign, or anything else), they are going to get sore. In order for orthodontic movement to take place, there must be pressure applied by a wire, elastic, or some other source. Pressure creates inflammation in the tissues around the teeth and that’s what makes you sore. If your teeth aren’t getting sore, they aren’t moving.

Whether or not you need an expander, extractions, or other auxiliary (rubber bands, springs, etc.) is determined by your individual teeth, jaws, bite, and profile, not by which bracket your orthodontist buys. Braces are just a tool. Your teeth don’t know if your braces were made by Damon, GAC, American, or Unitek. They only recognize force and move when it is applied. The company that makes Damon does not have a special agreement with your teeth so that their braces will straighten your teeth any faster. Even though there is less friction with self-ligating brackets and you can go a few extra weeks between adjustments, research has not shown that this reduces your overall treatment time.

So why do I and so many other orthodontists use and love the Damon System? First, I love the look of the bracket. It is small, smooth, and comfortable. Second, I love that it provides consistent results no matter which of my staff members performs your adjustment. Whether my newest assistant or I myself put in your wire, if the slide on the Damon bracket is closed, both of us will achieve exactly the same movement. Third, I love that the amount of time it takes to change a wire in my clinic is faster and easier because of the self-ligating nature of the bracket. Fourth, I like that I can add and take away elastic hooks at any time during treatment which makes you more comfortable and makes it easier for you to brush and take care of your teeth. Fifth, I like that we can eliminate a few appointments during your treatment because the wires can continue moving teeth for a few extra weeks between visits. Sixth, compared to other self-ligating brackets, I just like the way the slide works, how easy it is to open, and how it doesn’t close on its own while I’m adjusting your wires.

So there you have it. Although I don’t believe that Damon braces are magical, my staff and I love them and use them on all our patients. I think the system is well thought out and does save clinic time and office visits for my patients and their families. If you’d like to know more about Damon braces and if they’re right for you, come see me or drop me a note. I think you’ll be impressed!

NOTE: The author, Dr. Greg Jorgensen, is a board-certified orthodontist who is in the private practice of orthodontics in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a suburb on the westside of Albuquerque). He was trained at BYU, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Iowa in the United States. Dr. Jorgensen’s 25 years of specialty practice and 10,000 finished cases qualify him an expert in two-phase treatment, extraction and non-extraction therapy, functional orthodontics, clear aligners (Invisalign), and multiple bracket systems (including conventional braces, Damon and other self-ligating brackets, Suresmile, and lingual braces). This blog for informational purposes only and is designed to help consumers understand currently accepted orthodontic concepts. It is not a venue for debating alternative treatment theories. Dr. Jorgensen is licensed to diagnose and treat patients only in the state of New Mexico. He cannot diagnose cases described in comments nor can he select treatment plans for readers. Because he has over 25,000 readers each month, it is impossible for him respond to all questions. Please read all of the comments associated with each article as most of the questions he receives each week have been asked and answered previously. The opinions expressed here are protected by copyright laws and can only be used with written permission from the author.

111 comments so far in response to “Do Damon Braces Really Move Teeth Faster?”

  1. Germán says:

    Hello and thank you for this informative blog. I am getting my treatment done with Damon braces, and my orthodontist placed the lower brackets two weeks ago, but this is the second time in two weeks that 3 brackets have come unglued. Is that an usual issue?
    Thank you very much

    • There are several reasons why brackets come loose: shape of teeth, quality of enamel, bite interferences (teeth in opposing arch hit right on the bracket), eating inappropriate foods, and poor placement technique. There are solutions for all of these. If multiple brackets keep coming off of different teeth, it may be “operator error” during bracket placement. If brackets keep coming off of the same tooth over and over again, it is more likely a problem with the tooth or the bite. Either way, you need to discuss the problem with your orthodontist and get it under control so your treatment can move forward.

  2. Omer says:

    Hello Sir,

    I am having deep bite teeth. My orthodontist referred me Damon System to fix it. One of my lower tooth is at outer side and Doctor said she will remove it.
    My age is 34 and I heard that if we do this treatment before 20 years of age it would have been better than this age. What do you suggest to me.

    • First, you can get braces at any age. Second, the Damon System is the same as any other system. The most important thing is the skill of the doctor using the braces, not who manufactured them.

  3. MordWhite says:

    Thank you for the extremely informative blog, Dr. Jorgensen!

    I would like to ask about the ceramic brackets that are for sale on Amazon, Ebay, and Alibaba.com (though not on AliExpress, for some reason). Many of the sellers are based in China, but the brackets I purchased were shipped from the U.S. and were manufactured by a U.S. manufacturer that merged in recent years with one of the most prominent distributors of orthodontic supplies. Anyway, my orthodontist applied the brackets without incident, and I saved literally hundreds of dollars by supplying the brackets myself. The brackets cost very little. Do you have any experience with these inexpensive brackets (either those made in the U.S. or China)?

    • I do not have any experience with my patients providing their own brackets. I choose brackets because of the specific design that works with my training and experience. I would not place patient-provided brackets in my office.

  4. Louise says:

    I have just read your blog and found it very interesting. I have now had my Damon braces top and bottom for 13 months, I was told my treatment would be 15 to 18 months. I have appointments every 12 to 14 weeks and one bottom tooth still seems to have a long way to go. When they were first fitted I could see a difference within weeks and then everything slowed. Is it normal with this system to have appointments so far apart? PS I am in my 50′s and would advise anyone wanting your teeth straightened at any age not to hesitate.

    • In my opinion, the brand of braces (in your case Damon) has nothing to do with treatment time. Having said that, if I had a patient whose teeth are not moving as we had expected at the beginning of treatment, I would be more likely to see them more often to more closely monitor the treatment progress and make the necessary adjustments

  5. Monica Peterson says:

    I am definitely older and have had the Damon brackets for a year now. When the teeth move things definitely get sore, but it can be easily controlled with OTC meds. The main problem was the the brackets from the molars chafed the gums into swellings, bruises and sores. It took more than 6 mos for calluses to form there. That was NOT painless, and OTC painmeds were not enough. rinses helped – for about half an hour. Wax helped a lot. And of course orthodontists cannot prescribe anything, so no help there.

    Right now, we have got to moving the lower teeth, and the bottoms of the brackets of lower teeth have needle sharp spikes going into the gums of the lower lips, poking holes there. Wax prevents it, but I am so NOT impressed with those needle sharp brackets poking holes for the next several months, and the only remedy is wax. The Damon brackets may be the best on the market, but there is a lot of pain involved that is not talked about before starting the procedures.

    • As I’ve said repeatedly, Damon brackets are just brackets. The teeth still get sore and the cheeks and gums still get irritated. They are not magical by any means. Thank you for sharing your experience!

  6. Mark says:

    Hi. I got my damon braces a month ago. I was wondering why didn’t my dentist took a x ray of my teeth before putting my braces. Is this ok? I got my braces in the Philippines and now I’m in the US. My braces don’t have any rubber bands it’s only the wire.

  7. Barb says:

    I had an overbite, some minor crowding of my front teeth, and some gaps on the bottom between the molars that needed closing. The front 2 teeth were tipped inwardly and the orthodontist said they were the reason my lower jaw could not sit where it naturally wanted to sit further out. I wanted Invisalign for the esthetics but the orthodontist said Invisalign would not accomplish the movement he wanted to achieve on the lower teeth. So we started treatment with Invisalign on the uppers and Damon braces on the bottom. The projected treatment time was 18 months. 18 months turned into 4 years and 2 months. I still had some minor issues with a few teeth. The front 2 were not in perfect alignment with each other and one canine needed some rotation. At some point, the dr stopped ordering invisilign trays and attempted to do these movements by using Essex (spelling?) retainer trays by putting “buttons” in them. Months went by and these movements were not accomplished. We got to a point where I asked if we could just finish the treatment with braces. The dr put Damon braces on my front 8 teeth. This didn’t work and ended up screwing up my bite. So now I’m back in full treatment again this time with braces on the upper and lowers minus the very back molars. He says treatment is prob about 8 to 12 months! How can this take sooo long when my teeth are already straight? He also says that my bite can’t be fixed to where my jaw sits comfortably, he says I would need surgery…he didn’t mention surgery 4 years ago at the initial consultation. Also, I see the Damon widening happening. I’m very petite. Is it possible to widen someone’s teeth too much? I’m experiencing pressure on my cheeks and a headache. Is this normal with Damon braces? I know u have said repeatedly that Damon brackets don’t work differently than other brands, if so, then what’s going on with this widening trend? Is it special arch wires they r using or are they the same wires with traditional brackets? Is it safe to widen the arch? Do u think I should get a second opinion? Is this going against patient/dr confidentiality, since I am still in treatment with him? Please help. Any advice please. Thanks.

    • I stand my my statement that Damon braces are just braces. What is widening your arch is the broad arch wire that your doctor is using. That same wire would make your arches wide no matter which bracket you had on your teeth. If your story is accurate, it sounds to me like your doctor is learning as he goes. Are you seeing an orthodontic specialist (an orthodontist) or a dentist who does orthodontics? There is a big difference in training and experience. Regardless, if you are in to this four years without any end in sight, I would seek a second opinion.

      • Barb says:

        He is an orthodontist. I chose him because my dentist recommended him and had treatment there herself. I believe things didn’t go well because he used invisilign on top and braces on the bottom and toward what was supposed to be the end of treatment, tried doing minor adjustments using Essix trays instead of invisilign trays. It just didn’t work. I am not trusting his judgment anymore and not sure if he’s right that my jaw needs surgery to fix my bite. He did not mention surgery during my consult 4 yrs ago. Wouldn’t an orthodontist know at consultation that fixing a bite would need surgery? How do you recommend I go about getting a second opinion…Do I need to tell the current orthodontist that I’m seeking another’s advice up front? And does the second orthodontist have an obligation to disclose that he’s examined me to the first orthodontist? Thank you for your honest answers.

  8. april love says:

    thanks for this very informative blog. Anyways, i am planning to have braces maybe next month, i would like to know that is it really necessary have an xray of the teeth before having braces? because i have a friend that has her braces attached yesterday without undergoing an xray.

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