Surface characterisation of one-piece zirconia implants: SEM and EDS analysis.
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Titanium dental implants are widely used for the oral rehabilitation of edentulous patients. Recently, the general perception of titanium corrosion and biocompatibility has been questioned with potential toxic effects and interaction with body tissues being reported. Zirconia is a relatively new biomaterial. Its superior physical, mechanical and chemical properties make it a material of interest for biomedical sciences. Implant surface topography is the key determinants of successful osseointegration and can influence clinical results. Objectives: The objective of the present study was to examine the surface chemistry, morphology and the presence of surface contaminants on one-piece zirconia implants. Methods: The research examined the surface chemistry; morphology and the presence of contaminants on three one-piece Zirconia implants (commercially not available) using Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive x-ray spectroscopic (EDS) analysis. The elemental compositions of cervical collar, threaded-root and bulk regions of three Zirconia implants were determined by high vacuum EDS analysis. Results: The SEM images show the material specific surface irregularities at the implant thread and manufacturing faults produced by micro-machining were prominent. The valleys were smoother and showed a rough surface. EDS analysis of Zirconia implants showed Carbon, Oxygen and Potassium spikes. As expected, Zirconia dominated the spectra. The signals for Carbon and Oxygen are typical for adsorbed organic molecules and are present in almost all implant surfaces. Multiple spikes of Hafnium were also detected. Interestingly, some spikes of Titanium and Aluminium were also observed on all surfaces. The surface chemistry of the three implants showed similarities in the elemental composition. Conclusion: The surface analysis of one-piece proto-type Zirconia implants used in this project demonstrated manufacturing imperfections that could affect successful osseointegration. Strict quality standards should be adapted while micro-machining Zirconia implant surfaces to reduce the effect on successful osseointegration. SEM and EDS are viable tools to study implant surface characteristics.
Journal of Dental Research
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Dental Materials and Equipment