Fixture-abutment connection surface and micro-gap measurements by 3D micro-tomographic technique analysis

Deborah Meleo(a) , Luigi Baggi(b) , Michele Di Girolamo(b) , Fabio Di Carlo(c), Raffaella Pecci(a) and Rossella Bedini(a)

(a)Dipartimento di Tecnologie e Salute, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy (b)Cattedra di Gnatologia Clinica, Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy (c)Dipartimento di Scienze Odontostomatologiche, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy

X-ray micro-tomography (micro-CT) is a miniaturized form of conventional computed axial tomography (CAT) able to investigate small radio-opaque objects at a-few-microns high resolution, in a nondestructive, non-invasive, and tri-dimensional way. Compared to traditional optical and electron microscopy techniques, which provide two-dimensional images, this innovative investigation technology enables a sample tri-dimensional analysis without cutting, coating or exposing the object to any particular chemical treatment. X-ray micro-tomography matches ideal 3D microscopy features: the possibility of investigating an object in natural conditions and without any preparation or alteration; non-invasive, non-destructive, and sufficiently magnified 3D reconstruction; reliable measurement of numeric data of the internal structure (morphology, structure and ultra-structure).

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Hence, this technique has multi-fold applications in a wide range of fields, not only in medical and odontostomatologic areas, but also in biomedical engineering, materials science, biology, electronics, geology, archaeology, oil industry, and semi-conductors industry. This study shows possible applications of micro-CT in dental implantology to analyze 3D micro-features of dental implant to abutment interface. Indeed, implant-abutment misfit is known to increase mechanical stress on connection structures and surrounding bone tissue. This condition may cause not only screw preload loss or screw fracture, but also biological issues in peri-implant tissues.

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