Implant survival has been shown to correlate with low levels of bacterial penetration, and the presence of a soft tissue barrier can prevent contamination of implant and abutment surfaces. Yet complete cleaning of contaminated titanium surfaces can be difficult (and time consuming) to achieve. Several methods to simplify and increase the effectiveness of the procedure have been suggested.
The authors of this study carried out a triple-blinded RCT to test one of these methods: plasma of argon cleaning. The procedure aims to remove all organic matter from the contaminated metals and create a new surface suitable for interaction with cells. The study evaluated the effectiveness of plasma cleaning in order to combat bacterial contamination. The authors also tested plasma of argon’s role in promoting cell adhesion and collagen fibre orientation at early healing times.
The patient cohort (30 patients with 30 submerged implants) was randomly divided into two groups: G1 received specially designed abutments with no additional treatment; G2 received argon plasma cleaning. After two weeks a small biopsy (including abutment and soft tissues around the abutment) was taken and analysed using scanning electron microscopy.
The results of this analysis showed that patients treated with plasma cleaning had higher cell occupation (15.14% (range 2.91–44.27) and 33.75% (range 2.37–68.4) for G1 and G2, respectively). Collagen fibre density was also measured in basal, medial and coronal areas of the patients and it was found that G2 had higher density than G1, with a statistical difference in the internal area (P < 0.05).
The authors concluded by stating that plasma of argon may promote cell adhesion and positively influence collagen fibre orientation. They cautioned, however, that a greater sample is necessary to confirm the preliminary results of their study.