Human gingival fibroblast proliferation on materials used for dental implant abutments: a systematic review

Int J Prosthodont. 2021 November/December;34(6):811–828. doi: 10.11607/ijp.7388. Epub 2021 Feb 19.


Purpose: To conduct a systematic review to evaluate the influence of materials and surfaces used for dental implant abutments on the proliferation of human gingival fibroblasts.

Materials and methods: The focus question of this review was: Which material/surface characteristics used for dental implant abutments influence/enhance proliferation of human gingival fibroblasts? The Medline/PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were searched using "gingiva," "fibroblasts," "proliferation," and "dental implant abutments" as main keywords with AND/OR as Boolean operators. In vitro studies reporting 3 to 4 or 6 to 7 days of cell proliferation, surface hydrophilicity, and roughness were included. A quality assessment of the selected studies was performed using the web-based Science in Risk Assessment and Policy (SciRAP) tool.

Results: The search identified 1,144 studies, and 44 were eligible for inclusion. The average reporting quality SciRAP score was 82.87 ± 10.68, and the average methodologic quality SciRAP score was 87.35 ± 10.55. Machined, polished, and coated titanium and zirconia surfaces were most commonly investigated. Several studies analyzed aluminum oxide, cobalt-chrome-molybdenum alloy, lithium disilicate, polyether ether ketone, polymer-infiltrated ceramic network, and bioglass. The best cell proliferation was observed on zirconia and on titanium harboring nanotubules or microgrooves. UV treatment, polydopamine, and nitride coatings also improved cell proliferation. Due to the heterogeneity of the data, no correlation could be established between cell profileration and surface hydrophilicity or roughness. However, surface roughness in the range of Ra = 15 to 145 nm and Sa = 19 to 500 nm on titanium and zirconia proved most suitable.

Conclusion: Titanium surfaces with directional guidance patterning and zirconia surfaces best supported cell proliferation during the first week of cell culture. Lack of standardization in surface definitions (machined or polished), methodology, and reporting prevented analytical comparison and should be imposed in future studies.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Dental Abutments
  • Dental Implants*
  • Dental Materials
  • Fibroblasts
  • Gingiva*
  • Humans
  • Materials Testing
  • Surface Properties
  • Titanium
  • Zirconium


  • Dental Implants
  • Dental Materials
  • Zirconium
  • Titanium