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PLoS One. 2015 Oct 13;10(10):e0140393. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0140393. eCollection 2015.

Interruption of Electrical Conductivity of Titanium Dental Implants Suggests a Path Towards Elimination Of Corrosion.

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Department of Oral Health Sciences, University of Washington, Box 357444, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
Department of Periodontics, University of Washington, Box 357444, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.
Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) Linköping University, SE-581 83, LINKÖPING, Sweden.
PhD Program in Microbiology, Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama, United States of America.
Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Hong Kong, Prince Philip Dental Hospital, 34 Hospital Road, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong SAR, Peoples' Republic of China.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington, 3720 15th Avenue NE, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


Peri-implantitis is an inflammatory disease that results in the destruction of soft tissue and bone around the implant. Titanium implant corrosion has been attributed to the implant failure and cytotoxic effects to the alveolar bone. We have documented the extent of titanium release into surrounding plaque in patients with and without peri-implantitis. An in vitro model was designed to represent the actual environment of an implant in a patient's mouth. The model uses actual oral microbiota from a volunteer, allows monitoring electrochemical processes generated by biofilms growing on implants and permits control of biocorrosion electrical current. As determined by next generation DNA sequencing, microbial compositions in experiments with the in vitro model were comparable with the compositions found in patients with implants. It was determined that the electrical conductivity of titanium implants was the key factor responsible for the biocorrosion process. The interruption of the biocorrosion current resulted in a 4-5 fold reduction of corrosion. We propose a new design of dental implant that combines titanium in zero oxidation state for osseointegration and strength, interlaid with a nonconductive ceramic. In addition, we propose electrotherapy for manipulation of microbial biofilms and to induce bone healing in peri-implantitis patients.

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