Mechanical and biological comparison of latex and silicone rubber bands

Chung Ju Hwang, Jung Yul Cha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Latex rubber bands are routinely used to supply orthodontic force. However, because the incidence of allergic reactions to latex is rising, the use of nonlatex alternatives is increasing, and assessing the mechanical properties of the replacement products is becoming more important. The purposes of this study were to compare the mechanical properties of latex and silicone orthodontic rubber bands through static testing under dry and wet conditions, and to compare their biologic (cytotoxic) properties. Three brands of latex and 1 brand of silicone rubber bands were tested. When extended to 300% of the lumen diameter, the silicone group had an initial force equal to 83% of the product specifications; this was the lowest of the 4 groups. All 4 brands showed notable amounts of force degradation at the 300% extension when subjected to saliva immersion; this approximated a 30% force decay over 2 days. The latex bands all followed a similar pattern of force degradation, whereas the silicone bands showed a greater increase in force decay as the extension length increased. The silicone bands were less cytotoxic than 2 of the 3 types of latex. Although the silicone bands showed the least discrepancy of force degradation between air and saliva conditions, the amount of the force decay was the greatest. Therefore, great improvements in the physical properties of the silicone band are required before they can be considered an acceptable replacement for latex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Oct 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthodontics


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