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Mapping chemical elements on the surface of orthodontic appliance by SEM-EDX

Marcin Mikulewicz, Paulina Wołowiec, Izabela Michalak, Katarzyna Chojnacka, Wojciech Czopor, Adam Berniczei-Royko, Andras Vegh, Thomas Gedrange

Department of Dentofacial Orthopedics and Orthodontics, Division of Facial Abnormalities, Wrocław Medical University, Wrocław, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:860-865

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.890769

Available online:

Published: 2014-05-25

Background: During orthodontic treatment, the various elements that constitute the fixed appliance undergo different processes. As a result of a change of the surface, elution/coverage of metals on the surface can be observed in the process of corrosion/passivation.
Material and Methods: Scanning electron microscopy with an energy-dispersive X-ray analytical system (SEM-EDX) was used to analyze the composition of stainless steel elements of orthodontic fixed appliances (before and after orthodontic treatment), to obtain the composition of the surface of the elements. The analyzed elements were: brackets (Victory Series APC PLUS 022, 3M Unitek, Monrovia, CA, USA); wires (0.017×0.025, 3M Unitek, Monrovia, CA, USA); and bands (37+, 3M Unitek, Monrovia, CA, USA).
Results: The results showed a decrease of chromium and iron contribution to the surface, with increase of oxygen content in used vs. new elements of the appliance.
Conclusions: Our results confirm the formation of oxides (passivation layer) on the surface of stainless steel as a result of the presence of the orthodontic appliance in patients’ oral cavities.

Keywords: Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Elements, Orthodontic Appliances, Orthodontic Brackets, Orthodontic Wires, Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission, Surface Properties