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.

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

  1. Anqi says:

    Hi Dr. Jorgensen,

    Can adult use palate expanders to widen upper arch? I’ve learned the alveolar bone can be reshaped but not the jaw bone. So will expanders help adults?

    I’m a 32 year-old female with skeletal underbite (not very severe, upper and lower front teeth can touch), I’m seeking nonsurgical correction with just braces.


    • You said it best. Expanders can tip teeth in adults resulting in altered alveolar bone but not palatal expansion. I would not use an expander in an adult without also surgically re-opening the suture.

  2. Gina Haider says:

    My orthodontist said only the upper teeth have Damon braces first, they needed to be moved before the bottom Damons could be put on. Does this have to do with the bite of the teeth?
    Also, one side of my upper isn’t having any movement although I did explain I wanted the teeth on that side to be more outward to show a fuller smile. Is that even possible without a surgical procedure at my age of 48?

    • It is common to get the upper teeth moving first since they lay over and are on the outside of the bottom teeth. Once the uppers start moving and “unlock” the bite, the lowers can be more easily placed and move the teeth. As for expanding the jaw without surgery at age 48, all movement will be dental only (just the teeth). The bone will not widen. That’s why there are limits to how much we can move the teeth in adults. If we move beyond the bone, the bond and gums can be compromised no matter what brackets are used (remember that Damon braces are just braces, they are not magic)

  3. Tw says:

    I have had Damon braces close to 3 years now. Is it dangerous on the tooth enamel, not to remove them?

    • It is not dangerous to the teeth as long as 1) you are keeping your teeth clean so there is no decalcification, and 2) as long as the roots are still healthy (as determined by routine x-rays during treatment to monitor their length)

  4. Jolene Knoesen says:

    I git Damon braces today and was told that i cant have the clear braces at the bottom only at the top, so i did it this way but I really hate the look – is it possible to do it on the inside of my bottom teeth?

    • Braces on the inside of the lower teeth is very inefficient. The teeth are very narrow and there is not enough space for the wires to “do their thing” like they can on the outside. If you are really that concerned about people seeing your braces, discuss switching to clear aligners. There is very little that we can’t treat with aligners these days

  5. eja says:

    I am 36 and has been using self ligating bracket for 4 years. I have overbite issue and dentist ask me to put elastic band. Before i came across your blog I have in mind that this bracket is expensive and is said to be better and faster than conventional one hence why should i wear the elastic band. I cant tolerate the elastic band because to me it is annoying. I have to take off to eat and this is tedious. Because of my own ignorance my teeth still overbite. And so to confirm since self ligating is just a bracket, then elastic band to correct overbite is necessary? And how long it should take to wear elastic band to see the result?

    • Braces are braces and they do exactly the same thing whether or not they are self-ligation get. Elastics provide an entirely DIFFERENT function than the braces and one cannot eliminate the need for the other. Think of it this way: Braces line up the teeth in each arch (i.e. upper and lower). Elastics correct the bite (how the upper and lower come together). You would have needed the exactly elastics no matter which bracket your orthodontist used.

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