Objective: To assess the surface roughness of in-house 3D-printed orthodontic aligners compared to Invisalign® appliances, both retrieved as well as in the 'as-received' control status.
Design: An in vitro study following intra-oral material aging.
Setting and participants: Twelve clinically used Invisalign® appliances and the same number of 3D-printed aligners were obtained from a respective number of patients, without involvement of attachments. A similar number of 'as-received' aligners of each material were used as control (CON) groups.
Method: Four groups of materials were examined: A = Invisalign® CON; B = Invisalign® used; C = 3D-printed CON; and D = 3D-printed used. Optical profilometry was employed to examine the following surface roughness parameters: amplitude parameters Sa, Sq and Sz and functional parameters Sc and Sv. Descriptive statistics and quantile regression modeling were conducted, and the level of statistical significance was set at α = 0.05.
Results: Intra-oral exposure of 3D-printed aligners was significantly associated with increase in all tested parameters (P < 0.001 at all occasions). Significant differences were detected in the retrieved 3D-printed aligners compared to Invisalign® retrieved, with the exception of Sz. The respective effect sizes (median differences) were as follows: Sa: 169 nm, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 89-248, P < 0.001; Sq: 315 nm, 95% CI = 152-477, P < 0.001; Sc: 233 nm3/nm2, 95% CI = 131-335, P < 0.001; and Sv: 43 nm3/nm2, 95% CI = 17-68, P = 0.002.
Conclusion: Within the limitations of this report, we concluded that surface roughness differences existed between 3D-printed aligners and Invisalign® in the retrieved status, as well as between the control and retrieved 3D-printed groups.
Keywords: 3D-printed; Invisalign®; aligners; optical profilometry; roughness; surface characterisation