Self-ligating brackets (SLBs) are widely adopted in clinic owing to their claimed superiorities. Here, we collected and analysed all randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) comparing SLBs with conventional brackets (CBs) and thereby investigated whether SLBs can relieve discomfort or promote oral hygiene.


Electronic databases including MEDLINE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, Chinese BioMedical Literature Database and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure were searched to find out RCTs comparing active or passive SLBs with CBs. Two reviewers extracted the data and assessed risks of bias independently. Any disagreement between them was resolved through discussion with a third reviewer. Meta-analysis was conducted on Review Manager 5.3.


A total of 12 RCTs with 575 participants were included, and eight of the trials were synthesized quantitatively. Two trials were assessed as low risk of bias, whereas others as unclear risk of bias. Passive SLBs and CBs are not significantly different in plaque control. SLBs and CBs are not significantly different in discomfort reduction at any of four time points (4 h, 24 h, 3 days and 7 days).


Clinical evidences from existing RCTs suggest that SLBs do not outperform CBs in reliving discomfort or promoting oral health in clinic.

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