Although titanium dental implants are biocompatible, exhibit excellent corrosion resistance and high mechanical resistance, the material fails in providing resistance to infection because it exhibits poor antimicrobial activity. To address these issues, we deposited silver onto titanium abutments (Grade 5 titanium discs) using direct current (DC) sputtering and assessed the antimicrobial activity and biocompatibility of the modified implant material. Atomic absorption spectrometry and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were employed to investigate the concentration and elemental composition of the deposited silver. As expected, silver deposited using DC plasma was uniform and good control over the deposition could be achieved by varying the sputtering time. Moderate biocompatible responses (up to 69% viability) were observed in primary human gingival fibroblast cells incubated in the presence of Ti sputtered with Ag for 5min. Silver deposited titanium (Ti-Ag) showed excellent antibacterial effects on Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Streptococcus mutans at a very low concentration (Ag content 1.2 and 2.1μg/mm2). However, higher concentration of silver (6μg/mm2) was required to achieve a reduction in cell viability of Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. The silver sputtered Ti abutments could maintain a long-term antibacterial activity as evidenced by the release of silver up to 22days in simulated body fluid. Our study illustrates that silver deposited titanium is indeed a promising candidate for soft tissue integration on dental abutments and prevents initial microbial adhesion.
Keywords: Antimicrobial; Cytocompatibility; DC Plasma; Human gingival fibroblasts; Silver; Titanium.
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