Aim: Titanium implants are commonly used as replacement therapy for lost teeth and much current research is focusing on the improvement of the chemical and physical properties of their surfaces in order to improve the osseointegration process. TiO2, when it is deposited in the form of pillar array nanometric structures, has photocatalytic properties and wet surface control, which, together with UV irradiation, provide it with superhydrophilic surfaces, which may be of interest for improving cell adhesion on the peri-implant surface. In this article, we address the influence of this type of surface treatment on type IV and type V titanium discs on their surface energy and cell growth on them.
Materials and methods: Samples from titanium rods used for making dental implants were used. There were two types of samples: grade IV and grade V. In turn, within each grade, two types of samples were differentiated: untreated and treated with sand blasting and subjected to double acid etching. Synthesis of the film consisting of titanium oxide pillar array structures was carried out using plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition equipment. The plasma was generated in a quartz vessel by an external SLAN-1 microwave source with a frequency of 2.45 GHz. Five specimens from each group were used (40 discs in total). On the surfaces to be studied, the following determinations were carried out: (a) X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, (b) scanning electron microscopy, (c) energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, (d) profilometry, (e) contact angle measurement or surface wettability, (f) progression of contact angle on applying ultraviolet irradiation, and (g) a biocompatibility test and cytotoxicity with cell cultures.
Results: The application of ultraviolet light decreased the hydrophobicity of all the surfaces studied, although it did so to a greater extent on the surfaces with the studied modification applied, this being more evident in samples manufactured in grade V titanium. In samples made in grade IV titanium, this difference was less evident, and even in the sample manufactured with grade IV and SLA treatment, the application of the nanometric modification of the surface made the surface optically less active. Regarding cell growth, all the surfaces studied, grouped in relation to the presence or not of the nanometric treatment, showed similar growth.
Conclusions: Treatment of titanium oxide surfaces with ultraviolet irradiation made them change temporarily into superhydrophilic ones, which confirms that their biocompatibility could be improved in this way, or at least be maintained.
Keywords: dental implant; surface; titanium oxide; ultraviolet irradiation.