PEEK (polyetheretherketone) is a semi-crystalline linear polycyclic thermoplastic material which is considered as a strong biomaterial. It can be applied in dental implants as implant superstructure, abutment or body. There is current research on reinforcing PEEK material by additives and surface modifications.
PEEK is a dominant of PAEK (poly-aryl-ether-ketone) polymers that possess high thermal stability (>300 °C) and mechanical/chemical resistance in addition to low density (1.32 g/cm3), solubility and elastic modulus (3–4 GPa). It has been considered as an alternative for metallic components of orthopedic implants as it induces low sensitivity reactions and less artifact with imaging.
In dentistry, PEEK is believed to provide more aesthetic, purpose-specific appearance than titanium with almost similar hard and soft tissues’ responses. Another major advantage of PEEK is the fact that it exhibits stress/strain properties almost similar to the bone. It has so far been used as healing/provisional abutment and it is promising to be used as final abutment.
There is a current trend toward using titanium-reinforced PEEK abutments to gain the strength properties from titanium and biocompatibility from PEEK. The modification involves incorporating nanoparticles of TiO2, HAF or HAp through melt-blending process to achieve bioactive nanocomposite with high tensile strength and osteoconductivity. Other surface modification methods include plasma spraying/coating/immersion, electron beam deposition and ion vapor deposition. The percentage of titanium incorporation into PEEK should not cause any inflammation or fibrous tissue deposition; it should also be adjusted in a way to produce enhanced hydrophilic reactions so that more cellular proliferation is guaranteed through enhanced wettability.