Synthetic resin coating can reduce fixed appliance biofilms

Coating orthodontic brackets with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) -- a synthetic thermoplastic resin resistant to heat and chemicals -- reduces biofilm formation on the brackets and associated decalcification of tooth enamel, according to a study in the European Journal of Orthodontics (August 2010, Vol. 32:4, pp. 414-418).

A team of German researchers bonded one PTFE-coated bracket and one uncoated stainless steel bracket on the first or second primary molars in 13 adolescent patients for eight weeks. Quantitative biofilm formation on brackets was analyzed with a scanning electron microscope.

A total of five Rutherford backscattering detection (RBSD) micrographs were obtained per bracket with views from the buccal, mesial, distal, cervical, and occlusal aspects. Total biofilm formation was 4.0 ± 3.6% of the surface on the PTFE-coated brackets and 22.2 ± 5.4% on uncoated brackets -- a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05), the researchers noted.

In addition, pairwise comparison of biofilm formation with respect to location (buccal, mesial, distal, cervical, and occlusal) revealed a significantly lower biofilm accumulation on PTFE-coated brackets on all surfaces.

"The results indicate that PTFE coating of brackets reduces biofilm adhesion to a minimum and might have the potential to reduce iatrogenic side effects, [such as] decalcification during orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances," the researchers concluded.

Copyright © 2010

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