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Abstract

Elastomeric chains were introduced to the orthodontic profession in the 1960s’, and are now an integral part of every day practices. They are used to generate light continuous forces for correcting rotations, consolidating spaces, and retraction canines. They are inexpensive, easily applied, relatively hygienic and require little or no patient cooperation. Elastomeric chain, however, are nor without their disadvantages. When exposed to an oral environment, they absorb water and saliva, permanent stain, and suffer breakdown of internal binds leading to permanent deformation. They also experience rapid loss of force due to stress relaxation, resulting in a gradual loss of effectiveness. This loss of force make it difficult for orthodontists to determine the actual force transmitted to the dentition. There has been extensive body of literature regarding the properties of elastomeric chains, but they are difficult to evaluated because of the variable nature of the investigate material and methods. In this review article, we strive to summarize some of the most important literatures concerning the force delivery and degradation properties, the effects of prestretching, the influence of changing environment and miscellaneous information to help orthodontists get better understand of elastomeric chains.

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