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METALS AND MATERIALS International, Vol. 10, No. 6 (2004), pp.

549~553

Effects of Surface Coating on the Screw Loosening of Dental
Abutment Screws
1
2
1
Chan-Ik Park , Han-Cheol Choe * and Chae-Heon Chung

1

Department of Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, Chosun University, Gwangju
501-759, Korea
2
Department of Dental Materials & Research Center of Nano-Interface Activation for Biomaterials, Chosun University
Regardless of the type of performed restoration, in most cases, a screw connection is employed between the
abutment and implant. For this reason, implant screw loosening has remained a problem in restorative practices.
The purpose of this study was to compare the surface of coated/plated screws with titanium and gold alloy
screws and to evaluate the physical properties of coated/plated material after scratch tests via FE-SEM (field
emission scanning electron microscopy) investigation. GoldTite, titanium screws provided by 3i (Implant Innovation, USA) and TorqTite, titanium screws by Steri-Oss (Nobel Biocare, USA) and gold screws and titanium
screws by AVANA (Osstem Implant, Korea) were selected for this study. The surface, crest, and root of the
abutment screws were observed by FE-SEM. A micro-diamond needle was also prepared for the scratch test.
Each abutment screw was fixed, and a scratch on the surface of the head region was made at constant load
and thereafter the fine trace was observed with FE-SEM. The surface of GoldTite was smoother than that
of other screws and it also had abundant ductility and malleability compared with titanium and gold screws.
The scratch tests also revealed that teflon particles were exfoliated easily in the screw coated with teflon.
The titanium screw had rough surface and low ductility. The clinical use of gold-plated screws is recommended
as a means of preventing screw loosening.
Keywords: screw loosening, screw surface treatment, coated screw, scratch test

1. INTRODUCTION
In recent years, the use of osseointegrated implants has
been popular in single-tooth restoration, and partially edentulous and fully edentulous restoration. Regardless of the
type of performed restoration, in most cases, a screw connection is used between the abutment and implant. For this
reason, implant screw loosening has remained a problem in
restorative practices [1,2].
Abutment screw loosening was reported in a large number
of studies and ranges from 2 to 45 % of the abutment [3-6].
One suggested reason for the high incidence of screwl oosening from early studies was that the abutment screw was
made of titanium, and devices capable of providing counter
torque during tightening were not available. These problems
appeared to be solved through the use of a gold alloy abutment screw that yields a higher screw preload when properly
torqued [2]. Current gold screws vary between manufacturers, ranging in gold content from 64.1 to 2 %, with a yield
strength of 1,270 to 1,380 N [7].
*Corresponding author: hcchoe@chosun.ac.kr

In an effort to further reduce frictional resistance, dry
lubricant coating has been applied to the abutment screw.
The most notable screws in this regard are GoldTite (Implant
Innovation, 3i) and TorqTite (Nobel Biocare, Steri-oss) [8].
GoldTite is a standard gold-alloy screw with a plating of
0.76 thickness of pure gold. With a tightening torque of
32 Ncm, the manufacturer reported a 24 % increased preload
for the gold-plated screw [9]. TorqTite is a Teflon-coated
titanium alloy screw, with a reported reduction of the frictional coefficient of 60 % [6,10].
Will et al. noted that GoldTite and TorqTite abutment
screws with enhanced surfaces that help reduce the coefficient of friction produced greater rotational angles and preload values than conventional gold alloy and titanium alloy
screws [2]. Jeong et al. reported that in the case of GoldTite,
the implant and screw had relatively close and tight contact
without the presence of a large gap. In the case of TorqTite, the
abutment screw and implant interface demonstrated incomplete seating and only partial contact of threads between the
implant and screw [5]. Rachel et al. noted that the mean values for a combined anodizing abutment versus a non-anodized group in an ITI system were 27.9 and 33.9 Ncm, and

FE-SEM investigation of scratched abutment screw surface A micro-diamond needle was prepared for the scratch test. These studies demonstrated that surface treatments (coating. FE-SEM micrographs of titanium alloy screw surface of SteriOss. (c) TorqTite of Steri-Oss. and (c) screw root ×1000. USA. Nobel Biocare: (a) magnification ×100. Type of screws: (a) GoldTite of 3i. and (c) screw root ×1000. (b) screw crest ×1000. 2) and TorqTite had a rough surface due largely to the coated material on the surface (Fig.1. Korea. Fig. (b) titanium screw of 3i. FE-SEM micrographs of TorqTite screw surface of Steri-Oss. gold screw and titanium screw (Osstem Implant) by AVANA Co. FE-SEM micrographs of GoldTite screw surface of 3i. A tungsten tip was used where micromanipulation of the specimens was carried out by using FE-SEM (Netherland. USA.2. model: XL 30 SFEG). and (c) screw root ×1000. There Fig. anodizing) play a role in preventing the screw from loosening in the implant screw mechanism.1. (b) screw crest ×1000.2. FE-SEM investigation of surface of new abutment screw Observing the surface of new abutment screws with FESEM at ×100 magnification. plating. The purpose of the present study is to compare the surface of coated/plated screws with titanium and gold alloy screws and to evaluate the physical properties of coated/plated material after scratch tests. Materials The abutment screws selected for this study are as follows: GoldTite and titanium screw (Implant Innovation) provided by 3i Co. 1 and Table 1 show the type of screws and the manufacturer of screws used in this study. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE 2. Chan-Ik Park et al. and slope were subsequently observed at ×1000 magnification. (d) titanium screw of Steri-Oss. Nobel Biocare: (a) magnification ×100. Phillips Co. Implant Innovation: (a) magnification ×100. (e) gold screw of AVANA. 4. 2. GoldTite had a very smooth surface (Fig. RESULTS 3.2. 1. and (f) titanium screw of AVANA. Methods 2. Fig. root. FE-SEM micrographs of titanium alloy screw surface of 3i. we determined that all screws varied with respect to external form and the amount of surface roughness and foreign-material. When each abutment screw was fixed. (b) screw crest ×1000. 5. 4). Care was taken not to contact the thread surface of abutment screw so as to avoid contamination of the surface. the screw crest. and (c) screw root ×1000. 3. Table 1. Manufacturers and type of screws used in this study Implant manufacturer Type of screw Implant innovation Gold tite (3i Co) titanium Nobel biocare Torq tite (Steri-Oss Co) Titanium Osstem implant Gold (AVANA Co) titanium Type of alloy Gold-plated gold-palladium titanium Teflon-coated titanium Titanium Gold titanium Fig. 3. Implant Innovation: (a) magnification ×100. 2. . Each abutment screw surface was observed at ×100 magnification. anodization of the abutment surface reduced the resistance to loosening by approximately 20 % [11]. 2. (b) screw crest ×1000. TorqTite and titanium screw (Nobel Biocare) by Steri-Oss Co. a scratch was made on the surface of the head region at constant load and then the fine trace was observed with FE-SEM.1. FE-SEM investigation of surface of new abutment screw The new screws were provided by their respective manufacturers. 2. Fig. Fig.2.