PURPOSE: The use of appropriate instruments to clean surfaces with minimal change, is critical for the successful maintenance of a dental implant. However, there is no consensus about the type and methodology for such instruments. The aim of this study was to characterize changes in the roughness of titanium surfaces treated by various scaling instruments.
METHODS: Thirty-seven identical disks (5 mm in diameter) were investigated in this study. The specimens were divided into eight groups according to the types of instrumentation and the angle of application. Ultrasonic scaling systems were applied on a titanium disk to simulate standard clinical conditions. The equipment included a piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler with a newly developed metallic tip (NS group), a piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler with a conventional tip (CS group), a piezoelectric root planer ultrasonic scaler with a conventional tip (PR group), and a plastic hand curette (PH group). In addition, the sites treated using piezoelectric ultrasonic scaler systems were divided two sub-groups: 15 and 45 degrees. The treated titanium surfaces were observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and the average surface roughness (Ra) and mean roughness profile depth (Rz) were measured with a profilometer.
RESULTS: SEM no significant changes in the titanium surfaces in the NS group, regardless of the angle of application. The PH group also showed no marked changes to the titanium surface, although some smoothening was observed. All CS and PR sites lost their original texture and showed irregular surfaces in SEM analysis. The profilometer analysis demonstrated that the roughness values (Ra and Rz) of the titanium surfaces increased in all, except the PH and NS groups, which showed roughness decreases relative to the untreated control group. The Ra value differed significantly between the NS and PR groups (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study indicated that changes in or damage to titanium surfaces might be more affected by the hardness of the scaler tip than by the application method. Within the limitations of this study, the newly developed metallic scaler tip might be especially suitable for peri-implant surface decontamination, due to its limited effects on the titanium surface.