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Functional appliances are appliances which

act by either harnessing the muscular forces or by preventing aberrant muscular forces from acting on the dentition.


Buccinator mechanism
Orbicular oris and mentalis Lateral pterygoid Occlusal and masticatory forces Forces from tongue musculature
















soldering and welding are the technical

procedures most commonly used by orthodontists, the process is usually poorly understood and not employed efficiently. The purpose of this discussion is to enable the orthodontist to employ soldering and welding effectively.

1930s annealed stainless steel strips were

produced, and fluoride fluxes were introduced .

Vosmik and Taylor (1936) , attempted to

determine soldering temperatures for stainless steel .

Charles H. Tweed in 1941, gave an account on

soldering technique for steel arch wire. He described free hand soldering method .

Skinner and phillips ( 1960) gave melting range of 607-688degree c for low fusing silver solders available at that time . But ideal soldering temperature range was nowhere mentioned .

John v.wilkinson ( 1963) Soldering techniques for

stainless steel should be directed towards limitation of temperature rather than limitation of heating time.
J. Dutta Muzumdar and I Manna ( 2003 ) in their joint

thesis made a reference that under gravity conditions nickel titanium laser welding is possible

Peter C. Hall ( 2005 ) obtained a patent

describing a method of welding titanium, and titanium based , alloys, to ferrous metals

Laservall ( 2005 ) has come up with a basic

manual laser spot welding system that is available in both benchtop and floorstand configurations.

Metal joining operations are usually divided into three categories :

1.Brazing 2.Soldering


Soldering -A group of processes that join metals by heating them to a suitable temperature below the solidus of the substrate metals and applying a filler metal having a liquidus not exceeding 450 c that melts and flows by capillary attraction between the parts without appreciably affecting the dimensions of the joined structure . In dentistry , many metals are joined by brazing , although the term soldering is commonly used.

Brazing the process of joining closely

approximated solid metal parts by heating them to a suitable temperature below the solidus temperatue of the parts and allowing a filler metal having a liquidus temperature above 450 c to melt and flow by capillary attraction between the parts without appreciably affecting the dimensions of the joined structure.

Welding the joining of two or more metal

pieces by applying heat , pressure, or both , with or without a filler metal, to produce a localized union across the interface through fusion or diffusion . The thickness of the filler metal , if used, may be much greater than the capillary dimensions encountered in brazing.

Two basic joint designs :
Lap joint Butt joint

The butt joints is the weakest geometry for

tensile forces ,the lap joint is much stronger, as it resists through shearing action rather than tensile pull and its surface area is much larger.

Brazed joints are generally not as strong as

welded joints .

To get joints roughly equivalent to a weld , a

general rule of thumb is to make the overlap equal to 3 times the thickness of the pieces of metal being joined .

There are 11 basic brazing processes

1 . Torch Brazing 2. Induction Brazing 3. Resistance Brazing 4. Dip Brazing 5. Infrared Brazing 6. Furnace Brazing 7. Diffusion Brazing 8. Arc Brazing 9. Block Brazing 10. Flow Brazing 11. Twin Carbon Arc Brazing

Vacuum brazing is another materials joining

technique , one that offers extremely clean , superior , flux free braze joints while providing high integrity and strength . The process can be expensive because it is performed inside a vacuum chamber .
Temperature uniformity is maintained on the

work piece when heating in a vacuum, greatly reducing residual stresses because of slow heating and cooling cycles .

The soldering process involves the substrate

or parent metals to be joined, soldering filler metal (usually called solder) ,a flux , and a heat source. All are equally important, and the role of each must be taken into consideration to solder metal components successfully.

Substrate metal
The composition of the substrate metal determines its

melting range .
The composition determines the oxide that forms on

the surface during heating, and the flux used must be able to reduce this oxide , inhibit further oxidation , or facilitate its removal.
The composition of the substrate metal determines

the wettability of the substrate by the molten solder alloy .

The latin word flux means flow . Soldering flux a material used to prevent the

formation of , or to dissolve and facilitate removal of, oxides and other undesirable substances that may reduce the quality or strength of the soldered metal structure .

Fluxes may be divided into the following three

types, according to their primary purpose :

1. Surface protection
2. Reducing agent 3. Solvent

The choice of flux is dictated by the type of alloy to

be soldered and not by the type of solder used .

Composition of flux for base metal alloys

50% to 60% potassium fluoride , or another fluoride , 25% to 35% boric acid 6% to 8% borax glass, and 8% to 10% potassium or sodium carbonate .

Composition of flux for noble metal alloys

Fluxes for use with noble metal alloys usually are

based on boric or borate compounds such as boric acid , boric anhydride , and borax.

Borax or sodium tetraborate can dissolve the

metal oxides that are in gold alloys

One product is furnished as a filler metal in a

tube form , and the flux is contained inside the tube . This type is called prefluxed solder.
Whatever technique is used , it is of primary

importance to minimize the amount of flux used. Excess flux remains trapped within the filler metal and causes a weakened joint. Flux combined with metal oxides , forms a glass during the soldering process that is difficult to remove completely .

Types of solders
Soft and hard The soft solders include the lead tin alloys of

eutectic type with a low melting point . The soft solders lack corrosion resistance, which makes them impractical for dental applications.
Hard solders have a much higher melting

temperature than soft solders and also possess greater hardness and strength .

Two types of hard solders are used in

dentistry .
Gold solders Silver solders

Gold solders For dental use are primarily alloys of gold , silver

and copper , with small quantities of tin , zinc, and sometimes phosphorus included to modify the fusion temperature and flow qualities .
Gold solders that have good tarnish and corrosion

resistance are extensively used in crown and bridge applications.

Silver solder
The silver solders are composed of silver (10-

80wt%),copper (15-30%),and zinc(4-35%)with some products small percentages of cadmium. Tin or phosphorus to further modify the fusion temperature .
The liquidus temperatures for these solders range

from 620-700c , which is slightly below those of gold solders. This difference is important in the soldering of stainless steel.
Silver solders are commonly used in orthodontic

appliances .

Basis of selecting solders

The ideal solder includes qualities such as Ease of flow at relatively low temperature . Sufficient fluidity to freely flow when melted . Strength compatible with that of the structure being soldered . Acceptable color to give an inconspicuous joint . Resistance to tarnish and corrosion . Resistance to pitting during heating and application . No single dental gold and silver solder has all of these qualities .

Heat source
The heat source is an important part of the

soldering process . The most common instrument for the application of heat is a gas air or gas oxygen torch and the torch should be choosen according to the fuel being used .
A lower heat content of fuel requires a longer

period for heating to the desired temperature and is associated with more danger of oxidation during the soldering process.

The low heat content value for hydrogen indicates

that heating would be slow with hydrogen as a fuel.

Natural gas The heat content of natural gas is about four times

that of hydrogen gas The gas that is normally available is non uniform in composition and frequently has water vapor in it .

Acetylene Acetylene has the highest flame temperature , and its

heat content is greater than that of either hydrogen or natural gas . chemically unstable gas . Decomposes readily to carbon and hydrogen .
It has a good flame temperature , and its heat content

is the highest of the readily available gases. They are uniform in quality and virtually water free and burn clean .

The flame can be divided into four zones and the

portion of the flame that is used to heat the soldering assembly should be the neutral or slightly reducing part, because this produces the most efficient burning process and the most heat .
The careful and skillful use of the soldering torch

flame is important to a high quality soldered joint .

An improperly adjusted torch or improperly

positioned flame can lead to oxidation of the substrate or filler metal and result in a poorly soldered joint.
It is also possible to introduce carbon into

substrate and filler metal by using the unburned gas portion of the flame .
To prevent oxide formation , the flame should

not be removed once it has been applied to the joint area until the soldering process has been completed .

The thinner the diameter of the flame , the less

the metal surrounding the joint is annealed .

The soldering should be observed in a shadow

against a black background , so that the temperature can be judged by the color of the work ,the color should never exceed a dull red. After the metal has flowed , the work should be immediately removed from the heat and quenched in water.

Flow temperature is that temperature at which the

filler metal wets and flows on the substrate metal and produces a bond. The flow temperature of a filler metal varies , depending on the combination of substrate metal , flux , and ambient atmosphere .
The flow temperature of the filler metal should be

lower than the solidus temperature of the metals being joined . Flow temperature of the filler metal should be 56c lower than the solidus temperature of the substrate metal.

The flame should be maintained in place until the filler metal

has flowed completely into the connection .

Longer time increases the possibility of diffusion between

substrate metal and filler metal , while a shorter time increases the possibility of incomplete filling of the joint and of flux inclusion in the joint . Both of these conditions result in weaker solder joints .
The soldering operation should be completed in the shortest

time possible to avoid oxidation of the base metal ingredients of the alloys involved and to prevent damage to the microstructures of the alloys .

Pits in the solder
Penetration or burning through thin sections Loss of strength

Under heating
Pitting from the retention of unmelted flux and

failure of the solder to flow and adhere to all surfaces.

Both over and underheating will result in a

weaker solder joint . For this reason , the proper and careful heating and fluxing of the solder are essential .

Sometimes the flow of the solder should be

restricted from parts of the restoration such as the margins or the occlusal grooves. Flow into these areas can be prevented by antiflux material .
Graphite Iron oxide Calcium carbonate

Two techniques of dental soldering are used to assemble dental appliances.

Free hand soldering Investment soldering

A clearance of a few hundredths of millimeter ( 0.13mm)between the parts to be joined is

optimum when using the investment soldering technique .

Technical procedures
The soldering technique involves several critical

steps: and preparing the surfaces to be joined 2.assembling the parts to be joined 3. Preparation and fluxing of the gap surfaces between the parts 4.maintaining the proper position of the parts during the procedure 5.control of the proper temperature 6.control of the time to ensure adequate flow of solder and complete filling of the solder joint

The INFRARED unit uses the light from a 1000-

watt tungsten filament quartz iodine bulb , which is mounted at the primary focal point of a gold plated , elliptical reflector . The material to be soldered is placed at the reflectors secondary focal point, at which the reflected infrared energy of the tungsten light source is focused.
The main problem in the use of this unit is

locating the focal center of the light on the spot to be soldered .

Laser ,an acronym for light amplification by stimulated

emission of radiation , is essentially a coherent , convergent and monochromatic beam of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength ranging from ultra violet to infrared .
Laser can deliver very low to extremely high focused power

with a precise spot size /dimension and interaction /pulse time ( 10-3 to 10-15s ) on to any kind of substrate through any medium . Laser is distinguished from other electromagnetic radiation mainly in terms of its coherence, spectral purity and ability to propagate in a straight line . As a result , laser has wide applications .

Brazing titanium and titanium alloys

Although beta-titanium orthodontic wire has excellent

mechanical properties and biocompatibility, clinical applications are somewhat limited by difficulty in soldering. The elevated temperature causes formation of a thick surface oxide, and precipitation of alpha-titanium in the wire might be expected.
Soldering of beta-titanium orthodontic wire by infrared

radiation is acceptable for clinical use, since micro-xrd spectra revealed that both types of soldered specimens largely retained the bcc beta-titanium structure.

Titanium cannot be brazed because they are insoluble

with other metals or have an oxide layer that forms too quickly at intersoluble temperatures .
Before brazing titanium and titanium alloys the thin

oxide layer usually present on as delivered parts should be removed . The following pickling treatment has proved effective for this .
Pre clean with acetone Rinse with water Pickle with 35% Hno3+5%HF+ balance H2O Rinse with water Dry with warm air

Soldering is best carried out with lead tin based

solders at working temperatures between 200 and 300 c after the contact surfaces have been electrolytically or dip coated with copper or silver to improve wettability and adhesion produce joints which have virtually the same mechanical and chemical properties as the base metal .
However they have the disadvantages of limited

flowing properties. The advanced Ti- Cu Ni filler metal containing 20% Cu and 20% Ni displays greatly improved flowing properties .,x.m.qui,d.q.sun,s.q.yin (2005 ) studied

the properties of laser brazed joint of NiTi shape memory alloy and stainless steel orthodontic wires . They concluded that the tensile strength of the laser brazed joint could reach to 340 Mpa , while the loss of superelasticity and shape memory effect of Niti heat affected zone is relatively low by strictly controlling brazing parameters .

Welding is the process by which the surfaces of metals are

joined by mixing, with or without the use of heat.

Cold welding is done by hammering or pressure. An

example of cold welding is the gold foil filling.

Hot welding uses heat of sufficient intensity to melt the

metals being joined. The heat source is usually an oxyacetylene flame or high amperage electricity.


A welder consists of an electric transformer

which reduces the voltage of the mains supply to a low value which is safe to handle , copper electrodes which convey the current to the workpieces , a pressure mechanism to keep the workpieces pressed into contact and a timing switch to; control the duration of current flow .

The heat generated in metal when a current is passed

through it is expressed by the formula

H I 2 RT
Where H is heat in joules , I is current in amperes, R

is resistance in ohms , T is duration of current in seconds . In lowering the voltage in the welding circuit , the transformer correspondingly makes available a high current which , it can be seen from the formula , contributes greatly to the generation of heat which is proportional to the square of the current , the resistance of the material and the time for which the current flows .

When a weld is made , the point of highest resistance

is at the place where the work pieces are pressed into contact and in the work pieces themselves , which have a high resistance , the copper electrodes have low resistance, little heat is generated in them and having a high specific heat value , temperature rise is very small .
The main heating takes place between the work

pieces which soften and are welded together by the pressure of the electrodes .

Application without understanding may result in a

poor product. In order to minimize errors, the following technique should be used:
1. The weldmates should be clean of all

extraneous materials and oxides.

2. The surface of each electrode must be smooth,

flat, and perpendicular to its long axis. When the electrodes are together, they should be in total contact. If not, they should be filed until total contact is achieved. Sparking and localized over welding will result if interface contact is not uniform.

Smooth parallel electrode surfaces provide

the best welds. The common practice of sanding the electrodes with a sandpaper covered file produces convex surfaces , which can increase the electric resistance between wire and electrode and lead tothree point welding-

Poor contacts (a)between electrodes and wires

can cause overheating , which can produce brittleness , fracture, or delamination and also reduced weld energy and quality between wires ( b) three point welding . Graph shows relationship of contact surfaces to increased electrical resistance or temperature .

3. Adjust the welder to settings recommended by the

4. Select the proper electrode for the thickness or

shape of the material to be welded. A broad electrode should be used for thin material and a narrow one for thick material. This will allow sufficient heat to reach the weld area, but not overweld or oxidize the weldmates.
If too narrow an electrode is used in welding a

bracket (thick) to a band (thin), localized overwelding will occur in the thin material and underwelding in the thick material

Proper electrode selection a broad electrode for

thin material in conjunction with a narrow electrode for the thicker material will result in an even distribution of the weld nugget .
5. Insert the weldmates between the electrodes, close

them together, and depress the weld button .

If sparking is observed, localized overwelding has

occurred. The electrodes should be checked for size and/or contact. If black areas are seen at the points where the electrodes contacted the weldmates, overwelding has occurred.

Weld quality can be affected by many factors

associated with resistance spot welding including , Electrode pressure Voltage setting Duration of impulse Contact resistance Wire cross section Joint design Orientation of the wires Surface condition of the electrodes


The TMS electrodes ( the abbreviation is for

titanium molybdenum and steel wires ) are made of space age materials and coated with a chemical agent that both protects the electrodes and assures smooth , parallel surfaces . The coating lasts for as many as 1000 welds . The electrodes can be used in any common welder , whether in capacitor or transformer mode.

The TMS electrode can be used with any

orthodontic wires , including stainless steel , titanium molybdenum and multistranded without bowing of the wires .It works with a wide range of pressure and voltage ; in most cases, wires for fixed appliance treatment can be welded with a constant voltage setting .

The beta titanium alloy is reported to have

good weldability by Burstone and Goldberg, who initially suggested the use of a light capacitance technique for electrical resistance welding .

The Edison Welding Institute has developed a

process to weld a nickel titanium shape memory alloy to stainless steel without the formation of brittle intermetallic phases . The process has been tested with wire to wire butt welds with tensile strengths from zero to 620Mpa and reducing weld metal hardness from 900 to 450 Vickers . weld strengths have been achieved that allow superelastic bending of the Nitinol at the weld.

Welding of titanium and titanium based alloys,

plagued with poor quality and highly brittle welds , substantially due to formation of Ti Fe intermetallics in the weld pool. Certain fillers , such as nickel or iron added to the weld pool enable high quality welds to be fabricated utilizing a wide variety of fusion welding techniques including laser welding between titanium or titanium based alloys , and ferrous metals . optionally , the titanium or titanium based alloy may be stress relieved to achieve full recovery of the shape memory strain prior to welding .


Corrosion resistance of stainless steel wires

is good, although solder joints may corrode in the oral cavity.

The amounts of nickel and chromium

released are below the average dietary intake, the liberated elements may sensitize patients or produce reactions in already sensitized persons.

Electrochemical behaviors of laser-welded NiTi

50.6% (mole fraction) shape memory alloy and the base metal in 0.9% nacl solution were investigated by electrochemical techniques as corrosion potential measurement, linear and potentiodynamic polarization. The results indicate that the laser-welded Niti alloy is less susceptible to pitting and crevice corrosion than the base metal .

Tubes may be soldered to the bridges of

adams clasps on molars or premolars for extraoral attachments . Torquing auxiliaries may be soldered on the arch wire . Soldering of space maintainer components . Soldering of hooks to arch wire for extraoral attachments .

To gain space in the anterior segment, vertical

loops are often placed mesial to the cuspid and bent into an archwire. This can be time consuming and requires accurate wire bending. An alternative approach would be to weld a small loop onto a continuous archwire to direct a distal force against the cuspid

In situations where the posterior teeth are well

aligned but alignment discrepancies remain in the anterior segment, a composite continuous archwire can be made. An .021" * .025" TMA wire in the posterior segment is connected to an .016" round TMA wire in the anterior segment .the vertical loop acts as an area of adjustment and also can be used for minor space closure .

Joining of stainless steel and nickel titanium has multiple applications and advantages
Composite molar uprighting spring is a 7 mm segment of

sentalloy in the tilted molar region joined with stainless steel in the remainder of archwire.
Thompson used dual flex wires in his combination

anchorage technique .
The T- loop canine retraction spring joined to steel

horizontal arms found to deliver a constant moment force .

Joining of nickel titanium and stainless steel by

crimps produce weak , bulky joints . They often get detached in patients mouth . The size of crimp is controlled by interbracket span .
When super elastic segments are joined as

auxiliaries in varaiable modulus orthodontics , a constant moment force ratio is achieved . This improves patient comfort , reduces number of office visits and lowers the potential tissue damage .

Joining of dissimilar metal combinations is ,

however a challenging task owing to the large differences in physical and chemical properties which may be present . Laser welding and brazing, a high power density but low energy input process, provides solutions to a number of problems commonly encountered with conventional joining techniques.

. 2. Orthodontic welding Robert E. Binder. JCO 1976 feb;10: (137-139 Welding of TMA wire clinical applications Charles J. Burstone, JCO 1987 sep ;21:(609-615)

New electrodes for welding orthodontic wires Dr. Heinz winsauer jco 1991 jan;15: (30-34)


4. Weldability of beta titanium arch wires Mark T. Donovan, John jin-jong lin, william A. Brantley, and John p. conover milwaukee, wis. AJO1984 mar volume ;85: (207 - 216):


Optimal welding of beta titanium orthodontic wires Kenneth R. Nelson, Charles J. Burstone, and Jon Goldberg. AJO1987 sep volume;92: (213 - 219)
Composition and in vitro corrosion of orthodontic appliances Margret rosa grimsdottir,., Nils r. Gjerdet, and Arne HenstenAJO 1992 jun volume101;(525-538) Weld characteristics of orthodontic archwire materials Vinod krishnan, k. Jyothindra kumar , AO 2004;74:533-538




Properties of laser brazed joint of niti shape memory alloy and stainless steel orthodontic wires,x.m.qui,d.q.sun,s.q.yin orthodontic cyber journal


Mechanical properties and clinical applications of orthodontics wires Kapila and Sachdeva AJO- volume 1989 aug (100 - 109) The design , construction and use of removable orthodontic appliance C. Philip Adams and w. John s. Kerr 1993;171176



science of dental materials Anusavice 10th edition 1996; 619-629 Notes on dental materials E. C. Combe 6th edition 1992:204-205 Dental materials and their selection William J.O.Brien ,3rd edition ,2002;249-256