Background: Titanium (Ti) dominates as the material of choice for dental implant systems. Recently, titanium-zirconium alloy (TiZr) and zirconia (ZrO₂ ) have emerged as alternative materials due to higher mechanical strength and lower corrosion susceptibility. Oral pathogenic bacteria can colonize Ti surfaces, leading to surface degradation, which has yet to be investigated on TiZr and ZrO2 . The aim of this study was to compare in vitro oral bacterial adhesion and subsequent surface degradation on commercial Ti, TiZr, and ZrO2 implants.
Methods: Ti, TiZr, and ZrO2 implants with sandblasted, acid-etched (SLA) surfaces in addition to modified SLA-treated (modSLA) Ti implants (n = 3) were immersed for 30 consecutive days in Streptococcus polyculture. Post-immersion, adherent bacterial count was quantified. Optical microscopy was used to assess qualitative degradation and score Ti-based implants based on degree of surface damage while electrochemical testing quantified corrosion behavior. Analysis of variance followed by post-hoc Tukey test was used to statistically compare quantitative results (α = 0.05).
Results: Ti-SLA, Ti-modSLA, and TiZr-SLA implants exhibited localized features characteristic of corrosion attack while ZrO2 -SLA implants experienced minimal changes in surface morphology as compared to non-immersed control. Corrosion features were more numerous on Ti-modSLA implants but smaller in size as compared with those on Ti-SLA and TiZr-SLA implants. No significant differences in corrosion resistance (polarization resistance and corrosion rate) were observed between Ti-SLA, Ti-modSLA, and TiZr-SLA implants.
Conclusion: TiZr and ZrO2 dental implant surfaces were not more susceptible to colonization and surface degradation by oral Streptococcus species than commercially pure Ti implants.
Keywords: bacterial adhesion; corrosion; dental implants; titanium; zirconium oxide.
© 2018 American Academy of Periodontology.