Background: Professional maintenance is as important for patients with dental implants as it is for patients with natural teeth. However, no proper maintenance instruments have been available for implant patients. The purpose of this in vitro study was to compare the effects of a new ultrasonic scaler (VR), a conventional ultrasonic scaler (SP), and a plastic scaler (PS) on titanium surfaces.
Methods: To simulate subgingival conditions, the implant healing abutments were connected to acrylic resin blocks with artificial gingiva using silicon impression material. The abutments were painted with ink as an artificial form of debris. The ink was removed with the VR, SP, or PS scaler for 60 seconds under standardized conditions, and the removal rate was calculated. The roughness of the abutment surface was measured with a profilometer and observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM).
Results: The removal rate using the VR and SP scalers was higher than that using the PS scaler. No significant differences in the surface roughness or SEM observations were found among the VR, SP, or PS scalers.
Conclusions: In this preliminary study, the new ultrasonic scaler and conventional ultrasonic scaler were shown to be useful for removing artificial debris and produced no significant damage to titanium surfaces compared to plastic scalers. We concluded that new and conventional ultrasonic scalers with a non-metal tip would be suitable for implant maintenance.