Objective: To investigate the three-dimensional structural features of three types of mechanically retentive ceramic bracket bases. Materials and Methods: One type of stainless steel (MicroArch, Tomy, Tokyo, Japan) and three types of ceramic maxillary right central incisor brackets-Crystaline MB (Tomy), INVU (TP Orthodontics, La Porte, Ind), and Inspire Ice (Ormco, Glendora, Calif)-were tested to compare and quantitatively analyze differences in the surface features of each ceramic bracket base using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), a three-dimensional (3D) optical surface profiler, and microcomputed tomography (micro-CT). One-way analysis of variance was used to find differences in bracket base surface roughness values and surface areas between groups according to base designs. Tukey's honestly significant differences tests were used for post hoc comparisons. Results: SEM revealed that each bracket exhibited a unique surface texture (MicroArch, double mesh; Crystaline MB, irregular; INVU, single mesh; Inspire Ice, bead ball). With a 3D optical surface profiler, the stainless steel bracket showed significantly higher surface roughness values. Crystaline MB had significantly higher surface roughness values than Inspire Ice. Micro-CT demonstrated that stainless steel brackets showed significantly higher whole and unit bracket base surface areas. Among ceramic brackets, INVU showed significantly higher whole bracket base surface area, and Crystaline MB showed a significantly higher unit bracket base surface area than Inspire Ice. Conclusion: Irregular bracket surface features showed the highest surface roughness values and unit bracket base surface area among ceramic brackets, which contributes to increased mechanically retentive bracket bonding strength.
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