Mucosal seal formation around dental abutments is critical to the successful integration of dental implants into the human oral cavity. No information exists for how clinically relevant polishing procedures for computer-aided design and computer-aided manufactured (CAD/CAM) zirconia abutments affects cellular responses important to mucosal seal formation. CAD/CAM zirconia was divided into four groups for clinically relevant polishing utilizing commercial polishing heads: control, coarse, coarse plus medium, and coarse plus medium plus fine. Surfaces were analyzed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and optical profilometry (OP). Subsequently, human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) were seeded onto the zirconia surfaces. Proliferation was measured via a quantitative SEM technique and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) phosphorylation status was measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Results showed an increase in proliferation on all polished surfaces as compared to the control. Phosphorylation of FAK at tyrosine 397 (Y397) was up-modulated on the control surfaces. The associated cell adaptation is discussed. In all cases, FAK phosphorylation was greater at 24 h than 48 h. These results suggest that clinicians should be mindful of the effects of abutment polishing methodology, as this may have an impact on early mucosal seal formation.
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