Background and aim: Maintaining an intact enamel surface is an essential aspect of orthodontic therapy; however, various therapeutic measures can affect this surface. The aim of our study was to evaluate roughness of the enamel surface after different conditioning and polishing procedures.
Materials and methods: 42 bovine incisors were submitted to conventional abrasion (using 37% phosphoric acid), to air abrasion, and a combination of the two. Brackets were put in place and then debonded, and the remaining adhesive removed with a carbide bur or via air abrasion. The enamel surface's roughness was assessed using a confocal laser scanning microscope (CLSM).
Results: Mean roughness (R(a)) was 33.1. There were no statistically significant differences among the six groups, or in R(q) values. Under CLSM, the roughness after polishing via air abrasion appeared even. Although it was macroscopically smoother after polishing with a carbide bur, the surface showed a wave-like pattern.
Conclusion: The method of enamel conditioning revealed no significant effect on the enamel surface after debonding. Neither polishing via air abrasion nor carbide bur resulted in differences in superficial roughness. However, the carbide bur left a wave-like pattern on the enamel surface.