Response of orthodontic materials to extreme temperatures
Jones, Neal LeBaron
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Victims of incineration events challenge the forensic odontologist when coronal restorations are no longer present to compile postmortem data. The increase in the number of patients wearing orthodontic appliances increases the antemortem and postmortem data available to make a positive identification. The aim of this study was to provide an elemental-composition survey of various orthodontic materials before and after exposure to extreme temperatures. Five major orthodontic companies--American Orthodontics, GAC, Ormco, Reliance, and 3M-Unitek donated orthodontic products. We requested all materials that were unique in composition. The products were prepared and subsequently subjected to incineration for 30 minutes at 900 degrees Celsius. The analysis was completed by scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) to assess the elemental composition of the products before and after incineration. SEM/EDS successfully identified and fingerprinted various orthodontic brackets, wires, adhesives, and other products before and after exposure to extreme temperatures. This study demonstrates that orthodontic materials are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures, and can be utilized by the forensic odontologist as an aid to post mortem identification. Further, this study begins represents the initial stage of database generation for orthodontic materials as aid to forensic odontologists.