Novel nanostructured coating for dental implants and prostheses with high osseointegration efficiency (RiNaTO)

The objective of the project is the realization of a new thin film coating of titanium dental and orthopaedic implants. This titanium carbide based treatment improves the implant osseointegration.

The first step of this project was a research we performed in 2007-2010, on different thin film, titanium carbide coatings, which appear to be among the best treatments for implantology [Biomaterials, 28 (2007) 595-608; Surface and Coatings Technology, 204 (2010) 2605-2612]. This coating bestowed a protective layer on the implants, stimulating the proliferation and differentiation of human osteoblasts. Overall, the layer produces high cell growth, reducing the time needed to achieve the final osseointegration. The translation of this implant treatment to the conventional clinical practice will lead to patient stress relief and produce a substantial reduction of the healthcare costs, decreasing the risk of follow-up treatments and surgical reimplantation of the prostheses.

The main objective of this research is the improvement of the coating procedures and the optimization of the treatment by employing an improved Ion Plating Plasma Assisted treatment (IPPA) with Magnetron Sputtering. This technique ensures the production of a uniform nanostructured film with chemical, mechanic and physical properties that cannot be achieved using other coating procedures. Since the many deposition parameters of the IPPA (magnetron current, polarization of the sample holder, carbon content in the deposition chamber, etc.) can greatly influence the properties of the resulting coating, the first part of this project was devoted to the step-by-step optimization of the deposition protocols. We produced several test substrates changing the deposition parameters and analysing their properties. We studied the resulting biological outcome in order to characterize the role of the chemical and physical properties of the layer and the adhesion dynamics of the osteoblasts on the TiC coated substrates. [Materials Science and Engineering C, 46 (2015) 409-416]

Furthermore, we are currently working to confirm in vivo the biological effects we could detail using our in vitro analyses. [PLoS ONE, 11(3) (2016) e0152566]. The results are extremely promising and will be detailed as soon as they will be published. Overall, all the analyses indicate that the TiC layer produced using the IPPA deposition improves the biological response, even in the case of complex biological systems such as the human bone formation. This is a good indication of the excellent improvements that the coating will bestow on the implants.