Objective: To measure the forces delivered by thermoplastic appliances made from three materials and investigate effects of mechanical properties, material thickness, and amount of activation on orthodontic forces. Materials and Methods: Three thermoplastic materials, Duran (Scheu Dental), Erkodur (Erkodent Erich Kopp GmbH), and Hardcast (Scheu Dental), with two different thicknesses were selected. Values of elastic modulus and hardness were obtained from nanoindentation measurements at 28uC. A custom-fabricated system with a force sensor was employed to obtain measurements of in vitro force delivered by the thermoplastic appliances for 0.5-mm and 1.0-mm activation for bodily tooth movement. Experimental results were subjected to several statistical analyses. Results: Hardcast had significantly lower elastic modulus and hardness than Duran and Erkodur, whose properties were not significantly different. Appliances fabricated from thicker material (0.75 mm or 0.8 mm) always produced significantly greater force than those fabricated from thinner material (0.4 mm or 0.5 mm). Appliances with 1.0-mm activation produced significantly lower force than those with 0.5-mm activation, except for 0.4-mm thick Hardcast appliances. A strong correlation was found between mechanical properties of the thermoplastic materials and force produced by the appliances. Conclusions: Orthodontic forces delivered by thermoplastic appliances depend on the material, thickness, and amount of activation. Mechanical properties of the polymers obtained by nanoindentation testing are predictive of force delivery by these appliances.
- Esthetic appliances
- Nanoindentation testing
- Orthodontic force
- Polymer mechanical properties
- Thermoplastic appliances