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Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2003 Nov;124(5):502-8.

Activation time and material stiffness of sequential removable orthodontic appliances. Part 2: Dental improvements.

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Department of Orthodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Box 357446, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Fifty-one patients were enrolled in this study to explore the treatment effects of material stiffness and frequency of appliance change when using clear, sequential, removable appliances (aligners). Patients were stratified based on pretreatment peer assessment rating (PAR) scores and need for extractions. They were randomized into 4 treatment protocols: 1-week activation with soft material, 1-week activation with hard material, 2-week activation with soft material, and 2-week activation with hard material. Patients continued with their protocols until either the series of aligners was completed, or until it was determined that the aligner was not fitting well (study end point). Weighted PAR score and average incisor irregularity (AII) indexes were used to measure pretreatment and end-point study models, and average improvement was compared among the 4 groups. In addition to the evaluation of the 4 treatment groups, comparisons were made of the individual components of the PAR score to determine which occlusal components experienced the most correction with the aligners. The percentages and absolute extraction space closures were evaluated, and papillary bleeding scores before and during treatment were compared. Although no statistical difference was observed between the 4 treatment groups, a trend was noted with the 2-week frequency having a larger percentage of reduction in weighted PAR and AII scores, and greater extraction space closure. Anterior alignment was the most improved component, and buccal occlusion was the least improved. When analyzed by type of extraction, incisor extraction sites had a significantly greater percentage of closure than either maxillary or mandibular premolar extraction sites. A statistically significant decrease in mean average papillary bleeding score was found during treatment when compared with pretreatment scores, although this difference was not clinically significant.

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