Objectives

To determine and compare surface characteristics and presence of corrosion in new and used brackets with optical light microscopy (OLM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and with elemental chemical analysis with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).

Materials and Methods

OLM and SEM were used to analyze 24 new and 24 used conventional premolar brackets. EDS analysis was performed in six used brackets and four new brackets with corrosion-suspected spots.

Results

OLM and SEM images showed wear/abfraction signs, striations, pits/crevices, and adherent material. Used brackets showed more deterioration than new brackets. SEM images disclosed more morphological features than OLM images. EDS analysis revealed a significantly higher phosphorus (P = .001) and sodium (P < .005) weight fraction and significantly lower amounts of chromium (P < .001) in used brackets. The iron, chromium, and nickel weight fractions did not differ significantly between the clean and corrosion-suspected spots. Of the corrosion-suspected spots analyzed by combined SEM and EDS, 44.14% and 6.90% remained corrosion-suspected on used and new brackets, respectively.

Conclusions

Used brackets showed more signs of corrosion than new ones. Combined assessment of SEM and EDS indicates that the bracket surface is affected during orthodontic treatment as a result of corrosion.

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Author notes

a

Postgraduate Student, Department of Orthodontics, Ghent University, Belgium.

b

Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Materials Science, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

c

Emeritus Senior Lecturer, Department of Orthodontics, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

d

Professor and Department Chair, Department of Materials Science, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), University of Amsterdam and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

e

Postdoctoral Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Orthodontics, Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam (ACTA), Amsterdam, the Netherlands.