Every year, millions of people visit the orthodontist to correct and straighten their teeth. The process has undergone many evolutions since the first metal brace was invented in 1728 by Pierre Fauchard, the “father of dentistry”.
Adhesive dentistry started with an article written by Dr Buonocore in 1955 recommending that enamel be conditioned before the bonding process began. The pre-treatment conditioning encouraged minute alterations in the tooth enamel, improving the bonding results. Bonding materials flowed directly into the enamel, providing an attachment that is micromechanical.
Thirty-three per cent of the entire population around the world has undergone orthodontic treatment. Children can have treatment once enough of their adult teeth have arrived, usually around the age of 12 years. Orthodontic treatment is an increasingly popular choice for adults, too.
Glue applied to the mesh design on the reverse side of the braces bonds extremely well with the conditioned enamel.
The bonding of braces is a step-by-step process that begins with polished teeth and a cheek retractor inserted into the mouth to help keep the teeth dry and visible. After a brief conditioning and rinsing process, the teeth are coated with a primer. Bonding cement is applied to the back of the braces, which are then expertly applied to the teeth. Surplus bonding cement is then removed. Some bonding cements are sensitive to light; a dazzling blue light “cures” the glue. Other bonding agents don’t need light curing because they have been chemically cured.
Why are dry conditions required?
Dry enamel is vital because even though primers and adhesives can tolerate water, they do not work well with saliva. Saliva contains proteins that rapidly adhere themselves to the tooth surface, creating a layer called pellicle that obstructs bonding. This is why your lips, cheeks and tongue must be kept away from your tooth surface during the bonding process.
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We’ve come a long way since we began wearing braces to treat our teeth, but some tall tales still remain. Rest assured your braces are not magnetic, so you will not set off any metal detectors or receive radio frequencies, and your braces definitely do not increase your chances of being struck by lightning!