Noteworthy in 2015: PEEK for Orthodontic Wires

    • Reference:
    • Maekawa M, Kanno Z, Wada T, Hongo T, Doi H, Hanawa T, Ono T, Uo M. Mechanical properties of orthodontic wires made of super engineering plastic. Dental materials journal. 2015;34:114-9.
    • Keywords:
    • PEEK, dental, orthodontics, wire, fiber
    • Permissions:
    • This article was published under open access. Accordingly, the full pdf is reproduced on and available for download here. The original webpage where the article can be found is available at:

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Most orthodontic equipment is fabricated from alloys such as stainless steel, Co-Cr and Ni-Ti because of their excellent elastic properties. In recent years, increasing esthetic demands, metal allergy and interference of metals with magnetic resonance imaging have driven the development of non-metallic orthodontic materials. In this study, we assessed the feasibility of using three super engineering plastics (PEEK, PES and PVDF) as orthodontic wires. PES and PVDF demonstrated excellent esthetics, although PEEK showed the highest bending strength and creep resistance. PEEK and PVDF showed quite low water absorption. Because of recent developments in coloration of PEEK, we conclude that PEEK has many advantageous properties that make it a suitable candidate for use as an esthetic metal-free orthodontic wire.


Having put five kids through years of braces (some are still sporting a metallic grin!), with countless trips to the orthodontist, the concept of PEEK as an orthodontic biomaterial hit unusually close to home. Surely there must be a better way. In this basic science study from Japan, researchers asked the very same question, motivated by a combination of aesthetics and the desire to address metal allergy and MRI compatibility. They only performed basic material science tests: three point bending, creep, and water absorption. They also evaluated the aesthetics of PEEK compared with PES and PDF. While these tests are straightforward, this study still captured my imagination as a novel biomaterials application in which metal has historically been used, and now is being questioned. This study is a new twist in the growing expansion of considering PEEK for dental applications, a number of additional papers addressing PEEK in dentisty from 2015 are listed below.

Steve Kurtz, Ph.D.

Editor, Medical PEEK Lexicon


For more reading on Dental Applications of PEEK, see also the following recently published papers in 2015:

[1] Zoidis P, Papathanasiou I, Polyzois G. The Use of a Modified Poly-Ether-Ether-Ketone (PEEK) as an Alternative Framework Material for Removable Dental Prostheses. A Clinical Report. J Prosthodont. 2015.
[2] Zheng Y, Xiong C, Zhang S, Li X, Zhang L. Bone-like apatite coating on functionalized poly(etheretherketone) surface via tailored silanization layers technique. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2015;55:512-23.
[3] Xu A, Liu X, Gao X, Deng F, Deng Y, Wei S. Enhancement of osteogenesis on micro/nano-topographical carbon fiber-reinforced polyetheretherketone-nanohydroxyapatite biocomposite. Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2015;48:592-8.
[4] Wiesli MG, Ozcan M. High-Performance Polymers and Their Potential Application as Medical and Oral Implant Materials: A Review. Implant Dent. 2015;24:448-57.
[5] Stawarczyk B, Eichberger M, Uhrenbacher J, Wimmer T, Edelhoff D, Schmidlin PR. Three-unit reinforced polyetheretherketone composite FDPs: influence of fabrication method on load-bearing capacity and failure types. Dental materials journal. 2015;34:7-12.
[6] Schwitalla AD, Abou-Emara M, Spintig T, Lackmann J, Muller WD. Finite element analysis of the biomechanical effects of PEEK dental implants on the peri-implant bone. Journal of biomechanics. 2015;48:1-7.
[7] Maekawa M, Kanno Z, Wada T, Hongo T, Doi H, Hanawa T, Ono T, Uo M. Mechanical properties of orthodontic wires made of super engineering plastic. Dental materials journal. 2015;34:114-9.
[8] Lu T, Wen J, Qian S, Cao H, Ning C, Pan X, Jiang X, Liu X, Chu PK. Enhanced osteointegration on tantalum-implanted polyetheretherketone surface with bone-like elastic modulus. Biomaterials. 2015;51:173-83.
[9] Korn P, Elschner C, Schulz MC, Range U, Mai R, Scheler U. MRI and dental implantology: two which do not exclude each other. Biomaterials. 2015;53:634-45.
[10] Al Qahtani MS, Wu Y, Spintzyk S, Krieg P, Killinger A, Schweizer E, Stephan I, Scheideler L, Geis-Gerstorfer J, Rupp F. UV-A and UV-C light induced hydrophilization of dental implants. Dent Mater. 2015;31:e157-67.