Biomechanical and histomorphometric comparison between zirconia implants with varying surface textures and a titanium implant in the maxilla of miniature pigs

Clin Oral Implants Res. 2007 Oct;18(5):662-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0501.2007.01401.x. Epub 2007 Jun 30.


Background: Mechanical properties and biocompatibility make zirconia ceramics suitable implant material. The characteristics of tooth-color like, the ability to be machined and the low plaque affinity make zirconia especially suitable as a dental implant material. The influence of surface modification on the osseointegration of this material has not been extensively investigated.

Purpose: Long-term investigations with titanium implants have shown superior biomechanical results with the sandblasted acid-etched (SLA) surface, demonstrating a high bone-implant interaction. The objective of this study was to compare two different zirconia surface topographies biomechanically and histologically with the well-documented titanium SLA surface.

Material and methods: Zirconia implants with either a machined (ZrO2m) or a sandblasted (rough, ZrO2r) surface were manufactured with the exact same cylindrical shape with a standard ITI thread configuration as the SLA titanium implants. The incisors 2 and 3 were removed from both sides of the maxillae of 13 adult miniature pigs and the tissues left to heal for 6 months. After this time period the animals received a total of 78 implants using a randomized scheme, with the titanium SLA implant used as an only individual reference. After healing periods of 4, 8, and 12 weeks 20, 24, and 25 implants, respectively, were subjected to removal torque tests (RTQ) as the main biomechanical analysis of the of the study. A fewer number was resected on bloc, embedded in methylmethacrylat and analyzed for their direct bone apposition under a light microscope.

Results: Surface analysis revealed the highest surface roughness for the SLA-implant, followed by ZrO2r and ZrO2m. The turned ZrO2m implants showed statistically significant lower RTQ values than the other two implants types after 8 and 12 weeks, while the SLA implant showed significantly higher RTQs values than ZrO2r surface after 8 weeks. Differences in the bone apposition were observed in the histomorphometric analysis using light microscopy for all surfaces at any time point.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that ZrO2r implants can achieve a higher stability in bone than ZrO2m implants. Roughening the turned zirconia implants enhances bone apposition and has a beneficial effect on the interfacial shear strength.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acid Etching, Dental
  • Animals
  • Biocompatible Materials / chemistry
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Dental Etching
  • Dental Implants*
  • Dental Materials / chemistry*
  • Dental Prosthesis Design*
  • Incisor
  • Maxilla / surgery*
  • Osseointegration / physiology
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Random Allocation
  • Shear Strength
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties
  • Swine
  • Swine, Miniature
  • Time Factors
  • Titanium / chemistry*
  • Torque
  • Zirconium / chemistry*


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Dental Implants
  • Dental Materials
  • Zirconium
  • Titanium
  • zirconium oxide