Improvement of oral epithelial adhesion to titanium (Ti) may significantly enhance the efficacy of dental implants. We aimed to investigate whether calcium chloride (CaCl2) hydrothermally treated (HT) Ti could promote sealing of the peri-implant epithelium (PIE) around the implant. Right maxillary first molars were extracted from rats and replaced with either CaCl2-HT implants (Ca-HT group), distilled water-HT implants (DW-HT group), or untreated implants (Cont group). After 4 weeks, the implant-PIE interface of the Ca-HT group exhibited a band of immunoreactive laminin-332, similar to the tooth-junctional epithelium interface, which was absent in the Cont and DW-HT groups at the upper portion. We also investigated the effect of Ca-HT on the attachment of rat oral epithelial cells (OECs). OEC adherence onto Ca-HT Ti plates was stronger with higher expression levels of adhesion proteins compared with Cont and DW-HT groups. These results indicate that HT with CaCl2 improves the integration of soft tissue cells with the Ti implant at 4 weeks after implantation, which might facilitate the development of a soft tissue barrier around the implant.
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