Method to Reduce Dental Implant Failure

Fifteen million Americans have crown or bridge replacements and three million have dental implants. Dental implants can be successful for many patients; however, five to 10 per cent of all dental implants fail. The reasons for this failure are mechanical problems, poor connection to the implanted bones, infection or rejection. When failure occurs the dental implant needs to be removed.

The main reason for dental implant failure is periimplantitis. This destructive inflammatory process affects the soft and hard tissues surrounding dental implants. When pathogenic microbes in the mouth and oral cavity develop into biofilms, periimplantitis develop on dental implants.

A research team from the School of Biological Sciences, Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and the School of Engineering at the University of Plymouth, have joined forces to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a new nanocoating for dental implants to reduce the risk of periimplantitis. The results are published in the journal Nanotoxicology.

The research team created a new approach using a combination of silver, titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings. The combination to the surface of titanium alloy implants successfully inhibited bacterial growth and reduced the formation of bacterial biofilm on the surface of the implants by 97.5 per cent. The combination also created a surface with anti-biofilm properties which supported successful integration into surrounding bone and accelerated bone healing. Thus the researchers have identified a way to protect dental implants against the most common cause of their failure.

Current strategies to render the surface of dental implants antibacterial with the aim to prevent infection and periimplantitis development, include applying antimicrobial coatings loaded with antibiotics or chlorhexidine. These approaches are only effective in the short-term, and the use of chlorhexidine has been reported to be toxic to human cells. In the the new research a dual-layered silver-hydroxyapatite nanocoating is applied to titanium alloy medical implants which helps to overcome these risks.


A. Besinis, S. D. Hadi, H. R. Le, C. Tredwin, R. D. Handy. Antibacterial activity and biofilm inhibition by surface modified titanium alloy medical implants following application of silver, titanium dioxide and hydroxyapatite nanocoatings. Nanotoxicology, 2017.

Leave a Comment