Plasma Surface Treatment for Dental Applications

Plasma surface treatment of dental prosthetic structures (implant posts for example) has, for over a decade [1], been demonstrated to remove contamination and increase wettability which results in stronger bonding over the long-term.

Plasma Cleaning prior to Wire Bonding - close up of an electronics board and micro chip

Improving the chemical and physical interaction of dental implants with dental adhesives helps to promote the long-term success of such implants. Removal of organic contamination and increased wettability of the implant surface are key factors which can be improved using plasma technology.  

Plasma surface treatment using a gas mixture of argon and oxygen is extremely efficient at removing organic contamination and increasing the surface energy (improved wettability) of dental implants. The plasma treatment can be carried out chair-side with a small benchtop vacuum plasma, such as the HPT-100, which has been demonstrated to produce a significant increase in surface wettability when compared with e.g. piezoelectric plasma discharges [2].  Other benefits of vacuum plasma for dental implant applications are

Traditional, multi-step wet cleaning methods use combinations of harsh chemicals with increasing complexity as the requirement moves from cleaning, to descum, to complete PR removal.

Cleaning of organic residues for example may involve multiple hot batch acetone washing steps followed by multiple isopropyl alcohol washing steps. Complete PR stripping on the other hand is often performed with Piranha solution, an aggressive hydrogen peroxide and sulphuric acid solution.

The Plasma Cleaning Method

Plasma cleaning is a simple, fast and inherently clean alternative wafer preparation treatment. Oxygen plasma generates UV light together with reactive oxygen species which are extremely effective at the removal of both organic contamination and also complete PR layers. Both cleaning and PR removal are performed in the same equipment under the same conditions, with only the time of exposure to the oxygen plasma being varied.

The PR removal process can be seen below, with complete removal of PR in under 30 minutes and without any waste products or chemical disposal requirements.

  • Completely conformal treatment of the entire 3D surface
  • Homogeneous and repeatable surface treatment that isn’t influenced by environmental factors
  • One-touch automated process that doesn’t rely on operator skill and manual guidance

Plasma Treatment for Dental Applications

  • Plasma activation of dental implants for improved wettability
  • Improving bonding during colouration
  • Fine cleaning of surfaces before veneering and application