These days, medical imaging is a vital part of almost any treatment. It makes sense: the more you can see, the more you can know about a person’s condition, and the better recommendations you can make about treatments and procedures. And the more information you can get without cutting to reveal problems such as tumors, the better.
Unfortunately, metal dental restorations can interfere with medical imaging, including MRI. Some may even cause injuries. If you have metal restorations, it is worth considering replacing them with ceramic restorations that won’t interfere with MRI.
Four Types of Effects
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. To get images with an MRI, the machine must create a powerful magnetic field, perhaps 10,000 times stronger than the Earth’s magnetic field. This level of magnetic field can create some serious problems with metal restorations. These include:
Projectile Accidents: In this type of effect with MRI, a dental restoration can literally come out of someone’s mouth and fly across the room. Remember, these are very strong magnetic fields, very capable of throwing dental restorations. These can cause injuries to people who have the restorations, and to others in the room.
Damaged or Dislodged Restorations: Even if the magnetic field doesn’t propel dental restorations out of a person’s mouth, they can still dislodge, deform, or otherwise damage them. This can be problematic for someone with the restoration because they may need to get it replaced. Worse, they may not know about the damage, which could allow decay to progress underneath the restoration, leading to tooth damage or infection. People may need a root canal or can even lose a tooth as a result.
Thermal Burns: Sometimes a metal restoration won’t be moved by an MRI, but it can heat up. That’s because of the energy from the magnetic field and radio waves that pass through the restoration. When this happens, it can cause potentially serious burns.
Visual Artifacts: Even if a dental restoration doesn’t actually move in relation to an MRI, it can cause what is known as a visual artifact. That is a distortion of the magnetic fields which interferes with the images that the MRI is trying to capture.
How to Avoid These Problems
The good news is that we can avoid problems related to MRI scanners if healthcare workers and patients work carefully together. Here are the things you can do to help yourself avoid these problems:
- Choose ceramic crowns or composite fillings over metal
- Know that even porcelain fused to metal restorations could be problematic
- Always know the materials in your restorations
- Make sure your MRI technician knows about restorations
- Remove removable prostheses
Following these guidelines will help you avoid the potential problems that can come from interaction between metal restorations and MRI scanners.
Are You Looking for Ceramic Restorations?
If you want to replace metal restorations in Anchorage for this or other reasons, we can help. Please call (907) 349-0022 today for an appointment with a restorative dentist at Excellence in Dentistry.