Particulate production during debonding of fixed appliances: Laboratory investigation and randomized clinical trial to assess the effect of using flash-free ceramic brackets

Paragh Vig, Nicola Atack, Jonathan Sandy, Martyn Sherriff, Anthony Ireland*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction: The aim of this laboratory and randomized clinical trial was to investigate particulate production at debonding and enamel clean-up following the use of flash-free ceramic brackets and to compare them with non–flash-free metal and ceramic brackets. Methods: In the laboratory study, brackets were bonded to bovine teeth. After 24 hours of immersion in water, the brackets were debonded, the adhesive remnant scores noted, and the enamel cleaned with the use of rotary instruments. Four bracket-adhesive combinations and 2 different enamel pretreatment regimens were tested, including metal and ceramic brackets (conventional, adhesive precoat [APC], and APC flash-free) and conventional acid etch and self-etching primer. Quantitative (mg/m3) and qualitative analysis of particulate production was made in each case. In the clinical trial, 18 patients treated with the use of fixed appliances were recruited into this 3-arm parallel-design randomized controlled trial. They were randomly allocated to 1 of 3 groups: experimental flash-free ceramic bracket or non–flash-free ceramic or metal bracket group. Eligibility criteria included patients undergoing nonextraction maxillary and mandibular fixed appliance therapy. At completion of treatment, the brackets were debonded, and the primary outcome measure was particulate concentration (mg/m3). Randomization was by means of sealed envelopes. Data were analyzed with the use of quantile plots and linear mixed models. The effect of etch, bracket, and stage of debonding of clean-up on particle composition was analyzed with the use of mixed-effects regression. Results: In the laboratory study, the APC brackets produced the highest particulate concentration. Although statistically significantly higher than the metal and conventional ceramic brackets, it was not significantly higher than the ceramic flash-free brackets. In the clinical study, there was no statistically significant effect of bracket type on particulate concentration (P = 0.29). This was despite 3 patients with APC flash-free and 1 patient with conventional Clarity (with 1 bracket) having 1 or more ceramic bracket fracture at debonding requiring removal. No adverse events reported. Conclusions: Particulates in the inhalable, thoracic, and respirable fractions were produced at enamel clean-up with all bracket types. Although APC and APC flash-free brackets produced the highest concentrations in the laboratory study, there was no difference between any of the brackets in the clinical trial. Registration: The trial was not registered. Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-778
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number6
Early online date29 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


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