The effects of scaling titanium implant surfaces with metal and plastic instruments on cell attachment

J Periodontol. 1990 Aug;61(8):491-6. doi: 10.1902/jop.1990.61.8.491.


This study examined the ability of tissue culture fibroblasts to attach and colonize on the surface of pure titanium dental implants following instrumentation of the implant surface with curettes of dissimilar composition. Pure titanium dental implants were scaled with a plastic, titanium-alloy, or stainless steel curette and then immersed in a cell suspension of 3T3 fibroblasts. Counts of attached cells were made at 24 and 72 hours; the implants were then processed for scanning electron microscopy (SEM). At 24 hours, only surfaces scaled with a stainless steel curette showed a significant reduction in number of attached cells relative to untreated control surfaces. At 72 hours, both stainless steel and titanium-alloy curette instrumented surfaces showed significantly fewer attached cells than untreated control surfaces, with the greatest reduction in cell attachment observed on the stainless steel curette instrumented surfaces. SEM observations showed that fibroblasts on stainless steel instrumented surfaces tended to show a somewhat rounded morphology and a relatively reduced degree of spreading: while fibroblasts on untreated control, plastic, or titanium-alloy instrumented surfaces showed a well-spread, polygonal morphology, more typical of fibroblasts in favorable culture conditions. To the extent that such observations of cell attachment and morphology are indicative of in vivo biocompatibility, these findings could have clinical implications for the proper maintenance of titanium dental implants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Line
  • Dental Implants*
  • Dental Prophylaxis / instrumentation*
  • Dental Scaling / instrumentation*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Plastics*
  • Stainless Steel*
  • Surface Properties
  • Time Factors
  • Titanium*


  • Alloys
  • Dental Implants
  • Plastics
  • Stainless Steel
  • titanium alloy (TiAl6V4)
  • Titanium