The growth of the dental bracket market is due to the fact that criteria over buccal care have moved on from the merely functional - concerned with the conservation of dental elements - to take into account aesthetic considerations.
This change means that orthodontic applications have extended to other sectors of the population, apart from the typical adolescent sector. In other societies, as standards of living increase, orthodontics and mouth care is becoming more than just a prime need.
Most brackets are currently manufactured in stainless steel with a consequent aesthetic impact for the patient. Brackets known as aesthetic because of their lower visual impact, are made form plastic and achieve their aesthetic effect by being transparent. Nevertheless, what is on offer at present is poor as regards mechanical resistance, ageing, resistance to hydrolysis, the Basque researchers say.
The new product created by a collaboration between the Basque Tekniker Foundation technological centre and a manufacturer in Madrid has the aesthetic advantages of plastic combined with resistance properties similar to brackets made of metal.
The characteristics achieved by the new product are basically twofold: the use, as base material, of a polymer with high mechanical properties but of poor injectability, and the employment of microtechnologies as a means of manufacture, both for the mould itself as well as for the subsequent microinjection moulding of the plastic bracket. It is at this second stage that the Tekniker Foundation has placed all the capabilities of its micromanufacture laboratory at the service of the project.
The product is currently in the trials stage with patients, after which it will be launched on to the market possibly in the second half of 2005.
MEDICA.de; Source: Basque Research