Background: Information on bacterial colonization immediately after dental implant insertion is limited.
Aims: (1) To assess the early colonization on titanium implants immediately after placement and throughout the first 12 post-surgical weeks, (2) to compare the microbiota at interproximal subgingival implant and adjacent tooth sites.
Material and methods: Subgingival plaque samples from implant and neighbouring teeth were studied by checkerboard DNA-DNA hybridization before surgery, 30 min after implant placement, and 1, 2, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after surgery.
Results: Comparing bacterial loads at implant sites between 30 min after placement with 1-week data showed that only the levels of Veillonella parvula (P<0.05) differed with higher loads at week 1 post-surgically. Week 12 data demonstrated significantly higher bacterial loads for 15/40 species at tooth sites compared with pre-surgery (P-values varying between 0.05 and 0.01). Between the period immediately after surgery and 12 weeks at implant sites, 29/40 species was more commonly found at 12 weeks. Included among these bacteria at implant sites were Porphyromonas gingivalis (P<0.05), Tannerella forsythia, (P<0.01), and Treponema denticola (P<0.001). Immediately post-surgery 5.9% of implants, and 26.2% of teeth, and at week 12, 15% of implants, and 39.1% of teeth harbored Staphylococcus aureus. Comparing tooth and implant sites, significantly higher bacterial loads were found at tooth sites for 27/40 species after 30 min following implant placement. This difference increased to 35/40 species at 12 weeks post-surgically.
Conclusions: Bacterial colonization occurred within 30 min after implant placement. Early colonization patterns differed between implant and tooth surfaces.