MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, is a useful tool for doctors to look at both the soft and hard tissue in your jaw, which makes it an excellent tool for examining some of the tissues that are to blame for TMJ, as well as many other dental conditions. All indications are that MRI will continue to grow in importance as a dental tool. Unfortunately, though, not all dental materials used in restorative and cosmetic dentistry are compatible with an MRI. In an MRI, your body is subjected to magnetic fields, which can pick up the subtle magnetic fields of atoms in your body. However, if you have dental restorations that create much stronger magnetic fields, they can distort the image and make it hard for dentists to pick up the fine detail they want to see on an MRI. Researchers have now looked at nearly a dozen different dental restoration materials to determine which ones were fully or at least partly compatible with MRIs.

Fully Compatible Cosmetic Restorations

Several materials passed through the MRI without creating any distortions, which means they can be present even in the tooth we are trying to look at without problem. These include:

  • Resin-based sealer
  • Glass ionomer cement
  • Many composites (white fillings)
  • Gutta percha
  • Zirconium dioxide

If you have any of these restorations, there is no concern about distortions on an MRI.

Small Distortions

Other materials were shown to cause significant artifacts on the MRI. These included:

  • Composites with iron oxide pigments
  • Amalgam
  • Gold
  • Titanium alloys (such as dental implants)
  • Nickel-Titanium orthodontic wires

You can still get an MRI if you have these, but if they’re too close to the area we’re interested in, they might interfere.

Incompatible Materials

Some materials create such strong distortion that they might prevent good imaging even if they’re far from the area of interest. These include:

  • Stainless steel orthodontic material
  • Cobalt-chromium

If you have these materials, MRI may not be a good imaging option for you.

Let Us Know

Before we recommend any dental imaging, you should make sure we know about any and all dental restorations you received at another practice. They should be included in your records, but not all dentists are thorough in recording the restorations they perform. Just giving us a quick heads’ up about the location of any materials in your mouth as well as anything you know about their composition will help us recommend the right imaging solution for you. To talk to us about getting the best results from your dental restorations and dental imaging, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics in Spokane and Spokane Valley today.