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J Dent Hyg. 2013 Aug;87(4):200-11.

Comparison of the impact of scaler material composition on polished titanium implant abutment surfaces.



The purpose of this study was to compare the impact of the removal of biofilm with hand scalers of different material composition on the surface of implant abutments by assessing the surface topography and residual plaque after scaling using scanning electron microscopy (SEM).


Titanium implant analogs from 3 manufacturers (Straumann USA LLC, Andover, Maine, Nobel BioCare USA LLC, Yorba Linda, Cali, Astra Tech Implant Systems, Dentsply, Mölndal, Sweden) were mounted in stone in plastic vials individually with authentic prosthetic abutments. Plaque samples were collected from a healthy volunteer, inoculated into growth medium and incubated with the abutments anaerobically for 1 week. A blinded, calibrated hygienist performed scaling to remove the biofilm using 6 implant scalers (in triplicate), 1 scaler for 1 abutment. The abutments were mounted on an imaging stand and processed for SEM. Images were captured in 3 randomly designated areas of interest on each abutment. Analysis of the implant polished abutment surface and plaque area measurements were performed using ImageJ image analysis software. Surface alterations were characterized by the number, length, depth and the width of the scratches observed.


Glass filled resin scalers resulted in significantly more and longer scratches on all 3 abutment types compared to other scalers, while unfilled resin scalers resulted in the least surface change (p < 0.05). Filled resin-graphite reinforced scalers, carbon fiber reinforced resin scalers and titanium scalers resulted in more superficial scratches compared to glass filled resin, as well as more scratches than unfilled resin. No statistically significant differences were found between scalers and abutments with regard to plaque removal.


The impact of scalers on implant abutment surfaces varies between abutment types presumably due to different surface characteristics with no apparent advantage of one abutment type over the other with regard to resistance to surface damage. Unfilled resin was found consistently to be the least damaging to abutment surfaces, although all scalers of all compositions caused detectable surface changes to polished surfaces of implant abutments.


abutment; biofilm; implant; scaler; scanning electron microscopy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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