The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of modifying titanium surfaces, in terms of wettability, roughness, and mode of sterilization, on the ability of the oral bacterium Streptococcus sanguis to colonize. An in vitro model system was developed. All surfaces were colonized by the bacteria, but to significantly different levels. Titanium samples that exhibited rough or hydrophobic (low wettability) surfaces, along with all autoclaved surfaces, were preferentially colonized (P < .01). Titanium surfaces that had been repeatedly autoclaved were colonized with the levels of bacteria 3 to 4 orders of magnitude higher than other modes of sterilization. This may have implications relative to the commonly used method of autoclaving titanium implants, which may ultimately enhance bacterial biofilm formation on these surfaces.
Keywords: colonization, hydrophobicity, implant, modes of sterilization, Streptococcus sanguis, titanium