Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 18;13(1):13428. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-39320-1.
Controlling biofilm formation in the oral cavity during orthodontic treatments is crucial. Therefore, antimicrobial surfaces for invisible dental appliances are of interest to both therapists and patients. Here we present a cellulose-based thermoformable material used for invisible braces that can be loaded with essential oils (EOs) having antibacterial and antifungal properties. We hypothesize that this material can absorb and release EOs, thus providing an antimicrobial effect without compromising the safety and mechanical properties necessary for dental invisible braces. Conventional microbiology and isothermal microcalorimetry analyses revealed that the thermoformable material loaded with essential oils significantly delayed the biofilm formation of oral streptococci (S. mutans and S. mitis) under static conditions (p < 0.05) and while simulating saliva flow (p < 0.05). In addition, cytotoxicity tests (ISO 10993-5), revealed that the loaded material is well tolerated by human gingival fibroblasts. Finally, the loading with antibacterial agents did not significantly alter the mechanical properties and stability of the material (initial force (p = 0.916); initial stress (p = 0.465)). Compared to gold-standard clear aligner materials, this material offers a reliable transmission of forces for orthodontic treatments. Moreover, this approach exhibits the potential for acting as an oral drug delivery platform for multiple compounds.