BackgroundOrthodontic treatment involves using fixed or removable appliances (dental braces) to correct the positions of teeth. The success of a fixed appliance depends partly on the metal attachments (brackets and bands) being glued to the teeth so that they do not become detached during treatment. Brackets (metal squares) are usually attached to teeth other than molars, where bands (metal rings that go round each tooth) are more commonly used. Orthodontic tubes (stainless steel tubes that allow wires to pass through them), are typically welded to bands but they may also be glued directly (bonded) to molars. Failure of brackets, bands and bonded molar tubes slows down the progress of treatment with a fixed appliance. It can also be costly in terms of clinical time, materials and time lost from education/work for the patient.ObjectivesTo evaluate the effectiveness of the adhesives used to attach bonded molar tubes, and the relative effectiveness of the adhesives used to attach bonded molar tubes versus adhesives used to attach bands, during fixed appliance treatment, in terms of:(1) how often the tubes (or bands) come off during treatment; and(2) whether they protect the bonded (or banded) teeth against decay.Search strategyThe following electronic databases were searched: the Cochrane Oral Health Group Trials Register (to 16 December 2010), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Clinical Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library 2010, Issue 3), MEDLINE via OVID (1950 to 16 December 2010) and EMBASE via OVID (1980 to 16 December 2010). There were no restrictions regarding language or date of publication.selection criteriaRandomised controlled trials of participants with full arch fixed orthodontic appliance(s) with molar tubes, bonded to first or second permanent molars. Trials which compared any type of adhesive used to bond molar tubes (stainless steel or titanium) with any other adhesive, are included.Trials are also included where:(1) a tube is bonded to a molar tooth on one side of an arch and a band cemented to the same tooth type on the opposite side of the same arch;(2) molar tubes have been allocated to one tooth type in one patient group and molar bands to the same tooth type in another patient group.Data collection and analysisThe selection of papers, decision about eligibility and data extraction were carried out independently and in duplicate without blinding to the authors, adhesives used or results obtained. All disagreements were resolved by discussion.Main resultsTwo trials (n = 190), at low risk of bias, were included in the review and both presented data on first time failure at the tooth level. Pooling of the data showed a statistically significant difference in favour of molar bands, with a hazard ratio of 2.92 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.80 to 4.72). No statistically significant heterogeneity was shown between the two studies. Data on first time failure at the patient level were also available and showed statistically different difference in favour of molar bands (risk ratio 2.30; 95% CI 1.56 to 3.41) (risk of event for molar tubes = 57%; risk of event for molar bands 25%).One trial presented data on decalcification again showing a statistically significant difference in favour of molar bands. No other adverse events identified.Authors' conclusionsFrom the two well-designed and low risk of bias trials included in this review it was shown that the failure of molar tubes bonded with either a chemically-cured or light-cured adhesive was considerably higher than that of molar bands cemented with glass ionomer cement. One trial indicated that there was less decalcification with molar bands cemented with glass ionomer cement than with bonded molar tubes cemented with a light-cured adhesive. However, given there are limited data for this outcome, further evidence is required to draw more robust conclusions.