Over the course of his 60-plus-year career, retired orthodontist James M. Reynolds, DDS, FACD, FICD, was never content with having a simple orthodontic practice. A born entrepreneur, the former AAO president set out to develop products—including a mold-injected buccal tube and the first clear ceramic bracket—that helped advance orthodontics and improved patient care.

His latest contribution to the orthodontic field, through his Lubbock, Tex-based company Element 34 Technology Inc is a line of dental products known as the SeLECT Defense™ Orthodontic System. SeLECT Defense is an antimicrobial sealant and adhesive that incorporates selenium—a naturally occurring essential mineral—to combat plaque-causing bacteria and to keep them from colonizing in hard-to-clean spaces on and around orthodontic braces. The SeLECT Defense line of orthodontic products includes a light-cure adhesive, band cement, primer, sealant, elastomerics, and brackets.

Reynolds recently talked to Orthodontic Products about how SeLECT Defense got started. how it works, and what other applications there might be for selenium.

Orthodontic Products: How did SeLECT Defense come about?

James M. Reynolds: In 2006, I attended a seminar at Texas Tech University where a man on the program talked about how they had developed this process with selenium that eliminates the growth of bacteria. It sounded pretty interesting.

In addition, there was a company, Selenium Ltd, down in Austin, Texas, that had come to Texas Tech and bought the rights to that technology. Selenium Ltd was looking for a dental company that could develop the possibilities. That’s how we got involved.

Through our company, Element 34 Technology, we spent about 4 years working with Texas Tech, investigating what selenium would do and what it couldn’t do. They didn’t know whether they could put it on anything or not. Selenium is organic, while metal is inorganic. They’re not compatible. We had to figure out a way to coat the metal. That took quite some doing, but we finally developed a technology to put this on metal (as well as ceramic) braces and brackets.

In addition, we found that we could apply it to the polyurethane rings that hold the archwire in place. These rings take on water and are a wonderful trap for bacteria in kids who use them and who don’t brush their teeth well. We found that we can treat that little O-ring with the selenium, and no bacteria will grow around that or on the brackets. And it’s just amazing.

To read the rest of this article from the April/May issue of Orthodontic Products, click here.