Stress relaxation phenomena in polymeric orthodontic ligatures
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Cracow University of Technology, Department of Applied Mechanics and Biomechanics, Warszawska 24, 31-155 Krakow, Poland
Grzegorz Milewski
Engineering of Biomaterials 2021;(162):2–6
Elastomeric products are applied in orthodontics mainly as elastic ligatures or chains and have become an alternative to wire ligation made of titanium alloy or stainless steel. Despite their popularity among the dentists and undoubtful advantages, some essential warnings are being raised regarding the degree of load loss. This relaxation phenomenon seems to be a dominant feature in the time-dependent behaviour of those elements in orthodontic procedures, such as dentition corrections or teeth extrusions. The aim of the paper was to examine and analyse the rheological properties of biocompatible orthodontic elastomeric ligatures. Five different polymeric orthodontic ligatures were examined in the following experiments: a simple relaxation test, relaxation simulating orthodontic extrusion and the two-steps relaxation process, which stands for so-called ‘secondary tightening’, resulting in the increase of the orthodontic force. The results of the relaxation experiments proved that among various descriptions of that phenomenon, the power-law descriptions fit the best time-dependent behaviour during orthodontic procedures. Power-law models give the most intensive initial relaxation, which is characteristic for elastomeric ligatures. The obtained results and analyses allow precise control of the treatment progress in the orthodontic extrusion procedure.