Objective: To quantitatively analyze the surface roughness of the slot floors of three types of modern plastic brackets and to measure static frictional force during sliding mechanics in vitro. Materials and Methods: Control groups comprised stainless steel brackets and monocrystalline ceramic brackets. Test groups comprised three types of 0.022-in slot, Roth prescription, plastic, maxillary right central incisor brackets. Test groups included glass fiber-reinforced polycarbonate, filler-reinforced polycarbonate, and hybrid polymer with inserted metal slot brackets. The static frictional resistance caused by sliding movements with an archwire (stainless steel) in vitro was quantitatively analyzed. Both scanning electron microscope and three-dimensional optical surface profiling were used. Results: Scanning electron microscope and three-dimensional optical surface profiler revealed that all as-received brackets had irregular slot floor surfaces, and both irregularity and roughness increased after the archwire sliding test. The ceramic brackets in the control group showed significantly lower surface roughness values and higher frictional values during the archwire sliding test compared with the other brackets. The glass or filler-reinforced plastic brackets exhibited significantly higher static frictional values than the metallic slot type brackets (P < .001). The hybrid polymer with inserted metal slot brackets showed relatively lower surface roughness and frictional values compared with the stainless steel control bracket. Conclusion: Glass or filler-reinforced plastic brackets showed higher frictional resistance than metallic slot-type brackets. A plastic bracket with inserted metal slot may be the best choice among plastic brackets for low frictional resistance and to avoid damage from sliding movements of the archwire.
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