Orthodontic material applications over the past century: Evolution of research methods to address clinical queries

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The advances in the field of materials as they relate to orthodontics can be divided into the actual evolution of materials applied to daily practice and the changes in research methods to study the performance and the biologic properties of the materials. Although it is evident that new materials have saturated the market during the past century, the basic concepts of attaching one appliance to the enamel to use as a grip and inserting wires into that to control the spatial orientation of a tooth are identical to the original concepts. In contrast to that, the numbers of treatises about those subjects and the complexity of instrumentation and analytic tools used in published research have advanced tremendously and at a frenetic pace. This highly specialized pattern of research may effectively raise boundaries across research areas, since the complexity of the issues allows researchers to comprehend the content of journal articles in a narrow spectrum of disciplines. The purposes of this article were to review the advances in the research methods for investigating the various properties of orthodontic materials and to assist the reader in navigating this topic. A synopsis of the materials is also provided, listing future applications that already exist at the experimental stage or are yet unavailable but with the relevant technology already presented in broader scientific disciplines.

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