Aim: To test the null hypothesis that there was no difference in treatment efficiency between therapies undertaken with conventional (CBs), passive self-ligating (PSLBs) or active self-ligating (ASLBs) brackets.
Materials and methods: An electronic search was performed in 3 data bases (Pubmed, Web of Science, Cochrane Library) from their origin up to January 2019. Additional references were hand searched. Search was strictly restricted to randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and split-mouth design studies (SMDs). RCTs and SMDs were initially processed separately and subsequently combined in a network meta-analysis. The following variables were evaluated: treatment duration, number of visits, occlusal outcomes, alignment rate, transverse arch dimensional changes, incisor position modification, rate of space closure, anchorage loss, bond failure, root resorption, perception of discomfort during the initial phase of alignment, time to ligate in or to untie an archwire, periodontal variables, quality of life.
Results: On 229 papers, 30 RCTs and 9 SMDs were finally included in this study. Out of 85 comparisons, 16 only revealed statistically significant differences. It was quicker to untie and ligate an 0.014 NiTi arch from/in 6 ASLBs anterior ceramic brackets compared to 6 ceramic CBs. It was also more painful to insert and remove an 0.019×0.025 SS wire in/from PSLB's brackets compared to CB's attachments. Compared to conventional brackets, there was less maxillary incisor proclination with PSLBs in non-extraction cases. Moreover, there was less bleeding on probing 4-5 weeks after bonding with PSLBs compared to CBs brackets. The only significant difference between ASLBs and PSLBs was that alignment was 10 days faster with active self-ligating braces compared with passive self-ligating braces even if treatment duration between ASLBs and PSLBs was not significantly different. The network meta-analysis revealed that IMPA was greater in extractions cases with CBs compared with both ASLBs (+2,5°) and PSLBs (+1,6°).
Conclusions: The vast majority of the studied variables did not show any significant differences between the three types of brackets. The most significant findings were that it was quicker to insert and remove archwires from ASLBs compared to CBs, and it was more painful to insert and remove an 0.019×0.025" stainless steel wire in/from PSLBs compared to CBs. The major difference between ASLBs and PSLBs was that alignment was 10 days faster with active self-ligating braces compared with passive self-ligating braces even if treatment duration between ASLBs and PSLBs was not significantly different. Most of the claims put forward by the suppliers were not substantiated by our network meta-analysis.
Keywords: Network meta-analysis; Orthodontic appliance design; Orthodontic brackets; Self-ligating brackets; Systematic review; Treatment outcome.
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