Uniformity, surface roughness, and chemical phase structure are all important features of implant coatings. While the first two variables are important for implant placement, the phase structure affects implant fixation. This study examined the coating morphology and the amount, size, and distribution of crystalline regions of press-fit and screw-type dental implants. Implants obtained from five commercial vendors were sectioned sagitally, mounted, and polished to reveal the coating microstructure. The crystalline phase content varied depending on the implant supplier; however, general trends were observed. Amorphous regions were predominantly found at the metal interface and decreased toward the outside of the coating, producing a crystallinity graded coating. The distal end of the implant, where heat build-up was more likely during the coating procedure, displayed a higher crystalline content and larger crystalline regions. Similarly, the thread apex consisted of more of a crystalline phase. The results of this study of coating microstructure may be used to improve the quality and performance of implants and may help to explain different in vivo responses to the many available varieties of hydroxyapatite-coated dental implants.
Keywords: coating microstructure, crystalline phase content, hydroxyapatite-coated dental implants