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Eur J Orthod. 2006 Jun;28(3):292-7. Epub 2006 Jan 13.

Nickel in dental plaque and saliva in patients with and without orthodontic appliances.

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  • 1Department of Odontology, Orthodontics, UmeĆ„ University, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to compare the content of nickel in the saliva and dental biofilm in young patients with and without orthodontic appliances. The possible influence of a dietary intake of nickel on recorded nickel levels was examined. Nickel content in unstimulated whole saliva and in dental plaque of 24 boys and girls (mean age 14.8 years) with intraoral fixed orthodontic appliances was compared with 24 adolescents without such an appliance. Sample collection was set up to exclude nickel contamination. Diet intake was recorded for the preceding 48 hours to account for the influence of recent nickel content in food. Saliva and plaque were analysed for nickel content using an electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometric (ETAAS) method. The acidified saliva samples were analysed as Millipore-filtered saliva with filter-retained fractions and plaque following dissolution in acids. No significant difference in nickel content of filtered saliva was found between the test and the control samples (P = 0.607); the median values of nickel content were 0.005 and 0.004 mug/g saliva, respectively. On the other hand, a significant difference was found for the filter-retained fraction (P = 0.008); median values for nickel were 25.3 and 14.9 mug/g, respectively. A significant difference in nickel content between test and control samples was also found in plaque collected at various tooth sites (P = 0.001; median values 1.03 and 0.45 mug/g, respectively). A stronger difference was found when comparing plaque collected from metal-covered tooth surfaces than from enamel surfaces of orthodontic patients. No association could be found between calculated dietary intake of nickel and recorded nickel in the test and control samples. It is concluded that nickel release occurs into the dental plaque and components of saliva of orthodontic patients, a situation that may reflect time dependence of its release from orthodontic appliances into the oral cavity and an aggregation of nickel at plaque sites.

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