Dental implants obtained from four suppliers were analyzed by electron spectroscopy for chemical analysis and scanning electron microscopy. Three of the implants were delivered in a sterilized condition, while the fourth implant was delivered in a plasma-sprayed condition. The covering oxide layer consisted mainly of TiO2. Divalent and trivalent states of titanium were also detected, showing that TiO and Ti2O3 layers occurred. The thickness of the oxide formed on the plasma-sprayed implant was 3.4 nm. The oxide thicknesses of the sterilized implants were 4.6 ± 0.4 nm. The surfaces of all samples were covered with organic contaminants. A strong fluorine signal was obtained from one sample, indicating that the supplier etches the implants in hydrofluoric acid. Calcium and zinc were found on the surfaces of all samples from one supplier, while calcium and silicon were found on the surfaces of the implants from another supplier. It is suggested that inorganic contaminants should be avoided because these species can possibly provoke the dissolution of titanium.
Keywords: cleanliness, dental implant, oxide thickness, surface analysis, titanium