Early tests on a new coating for orthodontic brackets and wires developed by New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry researchers suggest that it could inhibit plaque growth and decalcification common in patients wearing fixed appliances without decreasing the bond strength between brackets and teeth.

The researchers observed minimal plaque and calculus formation on teeth surrounding the coated braces and no significant difference in bond strength between coated and uncoated braces during a 2-year study.

The coating is made from a calcium phosphate base that releases zinc–a common ingredient in mouthwash and toothpaste–onto braces and surrounding teeth. Zinc minimizes dental calculus formation and inhibits the growth of acid-producing bacteria that demineralize teeth.

According to Racquel Z. LeGeros, PhD, principal investigator, Professor of Biomaterials and Biomimetics and the Linkow Professor of Implant Dentistry at NYU, the coating would be inexpensive to produce, would not require US Food and Drug Administration approval, and could be available to market pending patent approval and further testing in patients.

[ScienceDaily, September 17, 2006]