The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations of ball attachments that had been worn by patients during three periods of clinical use. One hundred forty-four specimens of ball anchor attachments (gold alloy matrix and titanium patrix) were studied by SEM after periods of approximately 1, 3.5, and 8 years of clinical use. Twenty new attachment components were examined as controls. SEM images revealed signs of mechanical wear for the ball attachments studied. The surfaces of the titanium patrix were associated primarily with roughening after short-term use, whereas surfaces of the gold alloy matrix showed wear, roughening, and loss of microscopic material in the form of flakes. Severe mechanical wear on both surfaces was noted after longer periods of use. The mechanical changes were not correlated with patient-mediated observations regarding the time-dependent retentive efficacy of the attachments. One year of clinical wear appeared to have limited effect on the ball attachment tested. Conversely, longer periods of use led to marked modifications in shape of the matrix and patrix components.