Interruption of Electrical Conductivity of Titanium Dental Implants Suggests a Path Towards Elimination Of Corrosion

PLoS One. 2015 Oct 13;10(10):e0140393. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140393. eCollection 2015.


Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory disease that results in the destruction of soft tissue and bone around the implant. Titanium implant corrosion has been attributed to the implant failure and cytotoxic effects to the alveolar bone. We have documented the extent of titanium release into surrounding plaque in patients with and without peri-implantitis. An in vitro model was designed to represent the actual environment of an implant in a patient's mouth. The model uses actual oral microbiota from a volunteer, allows monitoring electrochemical processes generated by biofilms growing on implants and permits control of biocorrosion electrical current. As determined by next generation DNA sequencing, microbial compositions in experiments with the in vitro model were comparable with the compositions found in patients with implants. It was determined that the electrical conductivity of titanium implants was the key factor responsible for the biocorrosion process. The interruption of the biocorrosion current resulted in a 4-5 fold reduction of corrosion. We propose a new design of dental implant that combines titanium in zero oxidation state for osseointegration and strength, interlaid with a nonconductive ceramic. In addition, we propose electrotherapy for manipulation of microbial biofilms and to induce bone healing in peri-implantitis patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Corrosion
  • Dental Implants*
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Electrochemistry
  • Humans
  • Titanium / chemistry*
  • Titanium / pharmacology


  • Dental Implants
  • Titanium