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.

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

  1. Cody says:

    Dr. Jorgensen,

    I’ve read through much of your blog and just want to say thank you for going above & beyond with your wealth of knowledge. I have two orthodontists I’m considering; one board certified & the other has four years experience but slightly more affordable. First I need to decide between self-ligating or non-SL. Choices include Damon clear or metal, SmartClip clear or metal, Empower clear, Clarity non-SL clear, & Victory SL metal. I know all braces won’t be comfortable, but one that may be slightly less intrusive on the upper cheeks would be a big key in my selection (large overjet). Considering you’ve mentioned a switch from the Damon Clear to a different brand, are any of these ones you’d recommend more than the others? Thanks!

    • Don’t choose your orthodontist by the brackets he uses. Choose the orthodontist by the training, experience, and reputation. Brackets are just tools. It is the person holding the tool that gets the results.

  2. nylemi says:

    Dr. Jorgensen,

    My son’s dentist said her that all of her four 3rd molars should be removed before or during the braces for the reason that 3rd molars will move the teeth after the braces..And also her teeth are overcrowding. Is this ok? thanks ahead.

    • I don’t have a problem with a dentist recommending the removal of 3rd molars if there is not room, but 3rd molars are not the cause of post-treatment relapse. The only thing that will minimize relapse is retainer wear.

  3. Gloria says:

    I know Damon braces are also available in clear at the bottom. Why won’t some doctors use clear? I have one dr saying it may Chip the tooth on bottom and they can put this on me but I must sign a waiver??

    Another Dr says they use clear on top and bottom. No problem. But they put a blocker behind my top teeth for a while?

    • The main reason I don’t like clear braces on crooked lower front teeth is because they are too big relative to the teeth on which they are placed. They don’t leave enough room between the teeth for the wires (which provide the force) to do their jobs. If the teeth are not crooked and don’t need much movement, clear brackets are more of an option.

  4. Ben says:

    Hi Dr. Jorgensen
    Do the Damon brackets, clear or metal, use different wires than other types of brackets? If so, do the wires used with Damon use a different amount of force?

    • The Damon brackets use exactly the same wires and same forces that are available to be used with any other bracket. There is nothing magical or special about them. They are just a bracket that has a sliding door on them instead of a wire or o-ring.

  5. Ben says:

    Dr. Jorgensen
    I am seriously considering getting braces (Damon brackets) on only my upper teeth before I go on vacation from August 2-20. I am going to a major city in this country so I could certainly get to an orthodontist if I had to. The orthodontist I’m considering getting treatment from told me that the first wire will be very light and flexible, and there will be a higher risk for shifting and poking from tooth movement and normal chewing forces. Also, he told me that my first check-up/adjustment would be about 6-8 weeks after getting the braces put on.
    -In general, would getting braces about 2-3 weeks before leaving for vacation give most patients enough time to acclimate to them? Do most of the initial changes/tooth movements occur within the first few weeks, or do patients usually experience changes every day until their first check-up/adjustment?
    Thank you

    • The initial wires (very small and flexible) stay active for a couple of months. Having said that, I would not delay braces for a vacation because of the possibility that something may happen while you’re gone. The problems are very minor and wouldn’t ruin your trip even if they did occur.

  6. joe Hofer says:

    Dr Jorgensen, my son is getting braces July 13th. The orthodontist is also saying he needs a palate expander on top plus a lower expander as well. I know this doctor uses Damon braces. Is it fine for a 14 year old boy to get a palate expander?

    • Here are three comments in response to your question. 1. It is fine for a 14-year-old boy to get an upper expander, 2. I don’t use lower expanders since they just tip teeth and I can do the same only with more control with the braces, and 3. Damon brackets are no different than any other brackets. If you need an expander, you need an expander no matter what brand the braces are

  7. Bee says:

    Dentist said inshould take my 9 year old son to see a ortho. I took him to the first recommended by dentist and he thinks my son should get an expander. I was like ok, but then my sons father asked if i could get another opinion. So off to ortho #2…he said i should have 6 of my sons baby teeth pulled. I called dentist because i was confused on what to do and she said i should get a 3rd opinion…off to orth #3. He said i had 2 options, have the 6 baby teeth pulled or have the damon braces on top and bottom. Now that i got 3 different opinions, i decided to go to ortho #4 to break the tie….that ortho recommended expander on top and braces on bottom….now im even more confused. They all have lots of experience and are board certified….can you give me your opinion? Im so lost on what to do.


    • There is more than one way to skin a cat and I have no doubt that in the end your son will have an acceptable result. Forget what the doctors said and choose the one you trust the most. You need to stop comparing their recommendations (which are a reflection of their training) and select a doctor you can trust and follow. I can’t do that for you

  8. Jess says:

    Do Damon brackets prevent root resorption and gum issues later in life ? I have a family member who is a dentist – stating it does ! My son is currently scheduled to get traditional braces next month and worried it will be a mistake if I do not investigate damon system.

  9. Bushra Wasiq says:

    Hello Doctor,
    I am planning to have the damon braces but I am not sure about whether my orthodontist is the right choice for me. She has training experience in invisalign. Kindly give me your take on how should i choose the right orthodontist. Thanks for all your previous replies to almost every single post !

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