The aim of this study was to evaluate the hydrophilicity, surface free energy, and proliferation and viability of human osteoblast‐like MC3T3‐E1 cells on sandblasted and acid‐etched titanium surfaces after air‐abrasion with 45S5 bioactive glass, zinc‐containing bioactive glass, or inert glass. Sandblasted and acid‐etched titanium discs were subjected to air‐abrasion with 45S5 bioactive glass, experimental bioactive glass (Zn4), or inert glass. Water contact angles and surface free energy were evaluated. The surfaces were studied with preosteoblastic MC3T3‐E1 cells. Air‐abrasion with either type of glass significantly enhanced the hydrophilicity and surface free energy of the sandblasted and acid‐etched titanium discs. The MC3T3‐E1 cell number was higher for substrates air‐abraded with Zn4 bioactive glass and similar to that observed on borosilicate coverslips (controls). Confocal laser scanning microscopy images showed that MC3T3‐E1 cells did not spread as extensively on the sandblasted and acid‐etched and bioactive glass‐abraded surfaces as they did on control surfaces. However, for 45S5‐ and Zn4‐treated samples, the cells spread most at the 24 h time point and changed their morphology to more spindle‐like when cultured further. Air‐abrasion with bioactive glass and inert glass was shown to have a significant effect on the wettability and surface free energy of the surfaces under investigation. Osteoblast cell proliferation on sandblasted and acid‐etched titanium discs was enhanced by air‐abrasion with 45S5 bioactive glass and experimental Zn4 bioactive glass compared with air‐abrasion with inert glass or no air‐abrasion.