Dental Implants & MRIs

Are dental implants safe in MRI scanners? 

When seeking implant dentistry from James A. Burden, D.D.S., many patients ask if dental implants will interfere with other medical treatment that requires MRIs. Fortunately, MRIs are completely safe to perform on patients with dental implants. 

Titanium & MRI compatibility 

It may seem counterintuitive given that the post and abutment of a dental implant is made of metal. But the key lies in the type of metal used. Dental implants are typically made of titanium or zirconia specifically for their biocompatibility. This means that the metals don’t irritate or inflame tissues — like a foreign object within the body normally would. The biocompatible metals in dental implants are accepted by the body, and allow bone and gum tissue to grow around the implants as the surgery sites heal.  

What is an MRI? 

Some of you may be wondering what an MRI is and why you’d need one. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a scanning machine that can be used for a number of reasons including the diagnosis of: 

  • Joint abnormalities or injuries 
  • Spine abnormalities
  • Bone infections and tumors
  • Soft tissue tumors
  • Aneurysms 
  • Brain tumors or injury to the brain
  • Multiple Sclerosis 
  • Eye or inner ear issues
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Stroke

How does metal affect an MRI?

An MRI uses magnetic and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the human body. It essentially functions like a giant magnet, so any unsecured metals in or around the machine while it’s on will be pulled. If the proper checks and measures are not taken, it can be very dangerous for patients as well as technicians and doctors performing the scans. 

Be cautious with certain metals

Because an MRI has a variety of uses, it’s important to understand which metals can go in and which cannot. For instance, the following devices and metal may pose an issue with an MRI:

  • Older pacemakers and defibrillators (Not FDA-approved for use in an MRI scanner)
  • Metal braces (can distort MRI images) 
  • Shrapnel (depending on its location) 
  • Plates and pins (can distort MRI images if near organs or if not secured to bone)
  • Jewelry and piercings (definitely remove) 
  • Tattoos (if they have metallic ink) 

It’s critical to communicate with your doctor about any metals you have in your body. If you’re not sure, ask for an x-ray. 

Get your dental implants without worry 

If you’re hesitating on dental implants because of health issues, feel free to get them without worry! James A. Burden, D.D.S. & Associates offers free consultations for implant dentistry and a special on mini implants. Call (757) 229-1224 today for more information or to schedule your consultation. We’re conveniently located at 277 McLaws Circle, Williamsburg, VA 23185.