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International Journal of Biomaterials
Volume 2019, Article ID 6318429, 11 pages
Research Article

Al2O3 Particles on Titanium Dental Implant Systems following Sandblasting and Acid-Etching Process

1Schupbach Ltd, Laboratory for Histology, Electron Microscopy and Imaging, CH-8800 Thalwil, Switzerland
2Cosmodent Clinic, CH-8001 Zurich, Switzerland
3Material Research and Surface Technologies, Nobel Biocare Services AG, CH-8302 Kloten, Switzerland

Correspondence should be addressed to Peter Schupbach;

Received 6 April 2019; Accepted 6 May 2019; Published 2 June 2019

Academic Editor: Wen-Cheng Chen

Copyright © 2019 Peter Schupbach et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dental implants with moderately rough surfaces show enhanced osseointegration and faster bone healing compared with machined surfaces. The sandblasting and acid-etching (SA) process is one technique to create moderately rough dental implant surfaces. The purpose of this study was to analyse different commercially available implant systems with a SA-modified surface and to explore the widespread notion that they have similar surface properties regarding morphology and cleanliness. SA-modified surfaces of nine implant systems manufactured by Alpha-Bio Tec Ltd, Camlog Biotechnologies AG, Dentsply Sirona Dental GmbH, Neoss Ltd, Osstem Implant Co. Ltd, Institute Straumann AG, and Thommen Medical AG were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and examined for surface cleanliness. Six implants from three different lots were selected per each implant system. Mean particle counts for each implant and the mean size of the particles were calculated from three different regions of interest and compared using ANOVA and Tukey’s test. SEM analysis showed presence of particles on the majority of analyzed implant surfaces, and EDX evaluations determined that the particles were made of Al2O3 and thus remnants of the blasting process. SPI®ELEMENT INICELL® and Bone Level (BL) Roxolid® SLActive® implant surfaces showed the highest mean particle counts, 46.6 and 50.3 per area, respectively. The surface of BL Roxolid® SLActive® implant also showed the highest variations in the particle counts, even in samples from the same lot. The mean size of particles was 1120±1011 μm2, measured for USIII CA Fixture implants, while the biggest particle was 5900 μm2 found on a BL Roxolid® SLActive® implant. These results suggest that not all manufacturers are able to produce implant surfaces without particle contamination and highlight that the surface modification process with the SA technique should be appropriately designed and controlled to achieve a clean and consistent final medical device.