The purpose of the study was to measure and compare the level of frictional resistance generated between conventional ceramic brackets (Transcend Series 6000, 3M Unitek, Monrovia, Calif), ceramic brackets with stainless steel slot (Clarity, 3M Unitek), conventional stainless steel brackets (Victory Series, 3M Unitek), and 3 different orthodontic wire alloys: stainless steel (stainless steel, SDS Ormco, Glendora, Calif), nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti, SDS Ormco), and beta-titanium (TMA, SDS Ormco). All brackets had a 0.022-in slot, and orthodontic wire alloys were tested in 3 different sections: 0.016 in, 0.017 x 0.025 in, and 0.019 x 0.025 in. Each of the 27 bracket-archwire combinations was tested 10 times, and each test was performed with a new bracket-wire sample. Static and kinetic friction were measured on a specially designed apparatus. All data were statistically analyzed (analysis of variance and Scheffé for the bracket effect, Kruskal-Wallis and Mann Whitney for the alloy and section effects). Metal-insert ceramic brackets generated significantly lower frictional forces than did conventional ceramic brackets, but higher values than stainless steel brackets, in agreement with the findings of the few previous reports. Beta-titanium archwires had higher frictional resistances than did stainless steel and nickel-titanium archwires. No significant differences were found between stainless steel and nickel-titanium archwires. All the brackets showed higher static and kinetic frictional forces as the wire size increased. Metal-insert ceramic brackets are not only visually pleasing, but also a valuable alternative to conventional stainless steel brackets in patients with esthetic demands.
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