Everything You Need to Know about Dental Implants and MRI Safety

Dental implant MRI safety is an important consideration if you need to undergo imaging or are in the process of getting dental implants. There are some concerns tied to exposing metallic implants to a magnetic field, and you should always disclose that you have dental implants before an MRI.

Here what you need to know about dental implants, magnetism, and MRI safety.

What Is an MRI Exam?

MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a diagnosis tool that relies on magnets and radio waves. This process is different from X-rays and doesn’t expose you to radiation.

The strong magnetic field of the MRI machine distorts radio waves in a way that helps medical professionals create an image of soft tissues, nerves, and even brain activity in the case of a functional MRI.

Possible Issues with Dental Implants and MRI Scans

Before you undergo an MRI, the technician will ask you to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewellery and piercings. Your doctor will also go over your medical history before recommending an MRI, since implants that use metal may not be safe.

Magnets attract a category of metals with ferromagnetic properties. Iron, cobalt, nickel, and alloys that contain these metals fall into this category. These metals become polarized when a magnetic field is present, and a strong magnet can cause them to move at a high velocity.

Having ferromagnetic objects near an MRI machine is extremely unsafe. They can cause injuries and malfunctions of the MRI machine. Sudden implant dislodgment can even happen, possibly resulting in serious injury.

Thermal heating is another risk. Radio waves can cause a metal implant or prosthesis to heat up during the imaging procedure.

How to Stay Safe During an MRI

Before ordering an MRI, your doctor will go over your medical history and figure out what kind of implants you have to assess an MRI scan’s safety. Not all implants use ferromagnetic metals, and some dental implants are safe because they won’t have a strong reaction to the magnetic field.

However, some implants – dentures that use a metal base, orthodontic wires, and overdentures with magnetic keepers – are generally unsafe.

It’s also important to keep in mind that any implant that contains metal can distort the result of an MRI. Your doctor will consider implant placement when ordering an MRI and might opt for another imaging technique if your implants could invalidate the results.

MRI-Safe Implants

New materials for dental implants are typically safe near MRI machines. Titanium is one of the most common materials for dental implants, and it’s a paramagnetic substance that undergoes weak magnetization near magnetic fields. There are no risks of implant dislodgment and other complications with titanium implants.

Experts agree that, as long as you don’t have ferromagnetic dental implants, an MRI is generally safe. However, MRI safety is still an important consideration, and it’s a topic you should bring up before getting dental implants or if your doctor recommends an MRI. Medical professionals are aware of possible risks and interactions and will always go over your medical history in detail before an MRI.