The aim of this study was to characterize the mechanical properties of a bioactive-modified polyetheretherketone (PEEK) manufacturing approach for dental implants and to compare the in vitro biological behavior with titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V) as the reference. PEEK, PEEK with 5% hydroxyapatite (HA), PEEK with 5% beta-tricalcium phosphate (βTCP), and Ti6Al4V discs were produced using hot pressing technology to create a functionally graded material (FGM). Surface roughness values (Ra, Rz), water contact angle, shear bond strength, and Vickers hardness tests were performed. Human osteoblasts and gingival fibroblasts bioactivity was evaluated by a resazurin-based method, alkaline phosphatase activity (ALP), and confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) images of fluorescent-stained fibroblasts. Morphology and cellular adhesion were confirmed using field emission gun-scanning electron microscopy (FEG-SEM). Group comparisons were tested using analysis of variance (Tukey post hoc test), α = .05. All groups presented similar roughness values (P > .05). Ti6Al4V group was found to have the highest contact angle (P < .05). Shear bond strength and Vickers hardness of different PEEK materials were similar (P > .05); however, the mean values in the Ti6Al4V group were significantly higher when compared with those of the other groups (P < .05). Cell viability and proliferation of osteoblast and fibroblast cells were higher in the PEEK group (P < .05). PEEK-βTCP showed the highest significant ALP activity over time (P < .05 at 14 days of culture). An enhanced bone and soft-tissue cell behavior on pure PEEK was obtained to the gold standard (Ti6Al4V) with equivalent roughness. The results substantiate the potential role of chemical composition rather than physical properties of materials in biological responses. The addition of 5% HA or βTCP by FGM did not enhance PEEK mechanical properties or periodontal cell behavior.

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