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MRI with extensive dental work?



Nov 16, 2011
Middle of Illinois, USA
I guess this belongs here, since it's an extension of a phobia relating to my teeth:

I messed up my ankle for what seems like the upteenth time back in June. After six weeks of PT (and minimal to no improvement), my doctor ordered an MRI to see if I'll need surgery or not - which raises some fairly big concerns (not about the test itself, THAT I'm okay with; More the side effects).

I have EXTENSIVE dental work - god knows how many fillings, three crowns, a three-tooth bridge (two anchor teeth and a gap in the middle), four different root canaled teeth. I have NO idea what materials were used in the fillings and/or crowns, as I was mostly the type of patient who sat in the chair and let the dentist do what they needed to (Most of it was done under my parents' insurance and as long as I was getting doped on nitrous oxide, I didn't much care to know :toofunny:). I know that during one of my root canals roughly 12 years ago, a small bit of the file or whatever they use to clean the roots out broke off in the root, though I have no idea if they ever got that little piece out or not.

Unfortunately, I have no choice but to have this MRI (I asked if we could do a CT scan instead, and the doc said it wouldn't show what he needed)

Couple of questions for y'all

  • Is there ANY material that would have been used in my fillings, crowns, bridge, etc. that would cause any major issues with the MRI?

  • Have any of y'all had an MRI with extensive dental work? What were your experiences with this?

Advice appreciated :)
They normally recommend you go for an MRI with as much information as possible about metal in and on your body. The intake procedures aims to ensure that you, as a patient, are safe to get an MRI scan.
The metals they use in dentistry wont be impacted by an MRI. Hope the test helps them better treat your ankle issues. :)

The only thing that I would be worried about would be the piece of the file that broke off. My husband worked in a steel mill as a teenager, and when he needed an MRI recently, they insisted he have an x-ray first to see if there were any teeny, tiny shards of metal in his eyes, because it would have been disastrous if a piece was ripped from his eye by the magnets. Perhaps an x-ray of that specific tooth could determine if anything was still there?
I had an MRI last year for facial neuralgia. My dentist said there would be no issues with fillings. Before the scan you have a chat with a radiographer where they go through things that might cause issues, with a checklist. If any red flags crop up they would be dealt with then, and the scan could be rescheduled if need be. I think if you have dentures with metal clips they might need to be removed, but I don’t remember anything else related to dentistry being mentioned.

Mine was head only, and all I needed to remove was my earrings, and my shoes.
Thanks, y'all.

For all I know, I'm worrying about nothing - the file that broke off might have been removed that day, my crowns could all be made of safe materials, and the whole thing could go off without a hitch.

The logical part of my brain knows that I should be okay, but as we all know the anxiety/panic side will win out 9 times out of 10.
Most dental materials (posts, implants, crowns, etc.) are all fine in an MRI, but you can mention them when you're quizzed before the procedure, to put your mind at ease. It is most important though, that you tell them about the file piece, and let them decide how to proceed (or not). A piece of dental tool is probably NOT on their list of questions!
Well, two of my three previous dentists responded to my emails and said that they hadn't used any materials that would interact with an MRI, which is nice. I don't know if the last dentist will respond (and honestly, that's fine - She was my first dentist and probably the root cause, no pun intended, of my dental phobia).

If I could remember the name of the dentist who did the root canal with the file mishap, I'd contact them too, but it's been something like 14-15 years now, so I doubt they're even still in business (and an endodontist who did a separate procedure I KNOW is no longer in business)

I guess I just need to trust that everything will be okay and let the tech doing the procedure know all of this (and ask for Xanax or something next time! ;))