In vitro assessment of dental erosion caused by clear aligners

Celestino Nobrega, Gabriel Pereira Nunes, Yvonne de Paiva Buischi, Natália de Campos Kajimoto, Alberto Carlos Botazzo Delbem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The primary objective of this in vitro study was to investigate the erosive potential of enamel under the use of clear aligners (CA), by simulating in vivo conditions experienced by patients who do not remove their CA during the consumption of acidic beverages. In addition, the difference in erosion protection conferred by artificial and human saliva was also evaluated. Sound-extracted human premolars (n = 20) had half of their surfaces protected with acid-resistant nail polish and were randomly distributed into two experimental groups (n = 10): teeth immersed in human saliva or artificial saliva. All teeth had half of their lingual surfaces enclosed by a CA device. The erosive challenges consisted of individual immersion of each sample in citrus acid three times a day, intermediated by immersion in human saliva or artificial saliva for 2 h, during ten days of the erosive protocol. The enamel mineral content was analyzed by high-resolution microtomography. The differential mineral concentration profiles were obtained by subtracting the profile of the mineral concentration of the exposed area and enamel under the CA area from the respective sound area (control). In addition, enamel wear and enamel volume loss were measured. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was also performed to analyze the enamel surface. Data were analyzed by two-way ANOVA, followed by the Student-Newman-Keuls test. The enamel wear was higher in teeth immersed in artificial saliva, when compared to human saliva (p < 0.001). The volume loss of the exposed enamel area was lower for tooth immersed in human saliva than in artificial saliva (p < 0.001), during the acid challenge protocol. The use of CA during acid challenges promoted wear and mineral loss of dental enamel, being these changes more pronounced on the enamel surface under the CA. These results open a new path for the development of further studies adopting clinical protocols that promote more accurate responses in the clinical practice during orthodontic treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106390
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Biofilms
  • Clear aligner appliances
  • Dental enamel
  • Human
  • Orthodontics
  • Saliva
  • Tooth erosion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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