The aim of this study was to characterize the mechanical properties of a bioactive-modified 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 (ßTCP) 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 Anova (Tukey’s post-hoc) α=0.05. All groups presented similar roughness values (P>0.05). Ti6Al4V group was found to have the highest contact angle (P<0.05). Shear bond strength and Vicker’s hardness of different PEEK materials were similar (P>0.05), however mean values in Ti6Al4V group were significantly higher when compared to other groups (P<0.05). Cell viability and proliferation of osteoblast and fibroblast cells were higher in PEEK group (P <0.05). PEEK-ßTCP showed the highest significant ALP activity over time ( P <0.05 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 ßTCP by FGM did not enhance PEEK mechanical properties or periodontal cell behavior.

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