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Eur J Dent. 2017 Oct-Dec;11(4):537-547. doi: 10.4103/ejd.ejd_132_17.

Self-ligating versus conventional metallic brackets on Streptococcus mutans retention: A systematic review.

Author information

Department of Oral Biology, University of Sacred Heart (USC - Universidade do Sagrado Coração), Bauru, Brazil.
Department of Physiological Sciences, Piracicaba Dental School, University of Campinas, Piracicaba, Brazil.
Department of Dentistry, Federal University of Santa Catarina(UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil.
Department of Stomatology, Federal University of Paraná (UFPR), Curitiba, Brazil.
Department of Dentistry, Federal University of Sergipe (UFS), Lagarto, Brazil.



The present study aimed to review the literature systematically and assess comparatively whether self-ligating metallic brackets accumulate less Streptococcus mutans biofilm than conventional metallic brackets.

Material and methods:

The systematic search was performed following PRISMA guidelines and registration in PROSPERO. Seven electronic databases (Google Scholar, LILACS, Open Grey, PubMed, SciELO, ScienceDirect, and Scopus) were consulted until April 2016, with no restriction of language and time of publication. Only randomized clinical studies verifying S. mutans colonization in metallic brackets (self-ligating and conventional) were included. All steps were performed independently by two operators.


The search resulted in 546 records obtained from the electronic databases. Additionally, 216 references obtained from the manual search of eligible articles were assessed. Finally, a total of 5 studies were included in the qualitative synthesis. In 1 study, the total bacterial count was not different among self-ligating and conventional brackets, whereas in 2 studies the amount was lower for self-ligating brackets. Regarding the specific count of S. mutans, 2 studies showed less accumulation in self-ligating than in conventional brackets.


Based on the limited evidence, self-ligating metallic brackets accumulate less S. mutans than conventional ones. However, these findings must be interpreted in conjunction with particularities individual for each patient - such as hygiene and dietary habits, which are components of the multifactorial environment that enables S. Mutans to proliferate and keep retained in the oral cavity.


Biofilm; Streptococcus mutans; brackets; orthodontics

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