If you're tired of dealing with unsightly missing teeth, you may be considering a permanent solution in the form of dental implants. Unlike crowns or bridges, these implants are attached to a titanium rod inserted into your jawbone—making them just as durable and natural looking as your original teeth. However, you may be concerned about your ability to undergo an MRI scan, go through airport security, or even undergo additional operations once you've had this procedure performed. Read on to learn more about what you'll be able to do once you have dental implants, as well as what you should avoid.
What can you do if you have dental implants?
- Have an MRI
If you're nervous after watching videos of rings, belt buckles, and other metal objects go flying across the room when an MRI machine is turned on, you shouldn't worry—the surgical-grade titanium rods used to anchor your dental implants aren't magnetic and shouldn't interfere with the operation of an MRI or CT scan (although they will be illuminated if you're having an MRI scan of your head or neck performed). These titanium posts will also show up on dental X-rays, so, to ensure your dentist is able to view each individual tooth, he or she may need to X-ray your mouth from multiple angles.
- Fly across the country
Not only will these titanium posts allow you get through an MRI scan unscathed, they shouldn't slow you down while flying. Like other surgical-grade materials, they're non-ferrous and won't require you to go through additional security screenings. Although you'll want to spend the day or two after your surgery resting to help your body recover, you'll be able to fly once your anesthesia has worn off. This can let you have your surgery performed in another city (or even another part of the country) to help save money or recover in the care of a friend or relative.
- Have a knee or hip replacement
Because infection of artificial joints can occur months or even years after a knee or hip replacement, you may be concerned about adding yet another implant (and potential infection risk) to your body. However, once your body has healed from your dental implant surgery, getting a knee or hip replacement should be no problem. Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics for you to take before your surgery to prevent a potential infection.
While you're healing from implant surgery, the titanium rod anchoring your implant is integrating into the bone of your jaw in a process known as osseointegration. Eventually this rod will be solidly fused into your jawbone, eliminating the odds of an infection of your implant.
What should you avoid after having implant surgery?
While having dental implants shouldn't cramp your style in most ways, if you're currently a smoker you'll want to quit after your surgery. The nicotine and other chemicals in each cigarette will slow the healing process by diminishing blood flow to your gums and other oral tissues. This can increase your chances of implant rejection, necessitating a follow-up procedure and perhaps even the replacement of your dental implant with a bridge or partial denture.
- Uncontrolled diabetes
Because uncontrolled high blood sugar can also impede the healing process, those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes should keep a careful eye on blood sugar levels during the weeks after the implant surgery. Even after you've healed, you'll want to avoid having your blood sugar stay high for days on end, as this can damage gum tissue and eventually cause your gums to recede away from the base of the implanted tooth.