Laser microtextured titanium implant surfaces reduce in vitro and in situ oral biofilm formation

Andrei C. Ionescu, Eugenio Brambilla, Francesco Azzola, Marco Ottobelli, Gaia Pellegrini, Luca A. Francetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Micro- or nano-topography can both provide antimicrobial properties and improve osseointegration of dental implant titanium surfaces. Laser treatment is one of the best surface microtexturing techniques. The aim of this study was to evaluate in vitro and in situ biofilm formation on a laser-treated titanium surface, comparing it with two conventional surfaces, machined and grit-blasted. Methods For the in vitro experiment, an oral microcosm biofilm model was developed on the surface of titanium disks and reference human enamel using a bioreactor for 48 h. For the in situ experiment, titanium implants with laser-treated, machined and grit-blasted surfaces were mounted on intraoral trays and worn by ten volunteers for 48 h. Biofilm formation was quantitatively evaluated, and surfaces were analyzed using confocal laser scanning microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Results–in vitro study Biofilm structures with a prevalence of viable cells covered most of the machined, grit-blasted and human enamel surfaces, whereas less dense biofilm structures with non-confluent microcolonies were observed on the laser-treated titanium. Laser-treated titanium showed the lowest biofilm formation, where microorganisms colonized the edges of the laser-created pits, with very few or no biofilm formation observed inside the pits. Results–in situ study The biofilm formation pattern observed was similar to that in the in vitro experiment. Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed complete coverage of the implant threads, with mostly viable cells in grit-blasted and machined specimens. Unexpectedly, laser-treated specimens showed few dead microbial cells colonizing the bottom of the threads, while an intense colonization was found on the threading sides. Conclusion This data suggests that laser-created microtopography can reduce biofilm formation, with a maximum effect when the surface is blasted orthogonally by the laser beam. In this sense the orientation of the laser beam seems to be relevant for the biological interaction with biofilms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0202262
JournalPLoS One
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Laser microtextured titanium implant surfaces reduce in vitro and in situ oral biofilm formation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this