Can Dental Implants Set Off Airport Metal Detectors?

If you have dental implants, are you doomed to a lifetime of airport security delays?

Most artificial joints — more than 90 percent, in fact — do set off metal detectors. Fortunately, tooth replacements aren’t like knee and hip replacements, and the chances are good that you won’t have to worry about triggering an alarm in most cases.

dental implants metal detectors

However, because security technology has advanced significantly over the past decade, dental implants could set off some high-tech metal detectors. Does that mean you may have to worry about a long delay at the TSA checkpoint every time you take a flight?

Why Dental Implants Don’t Trigger Airport Metal Detectors

Metal detectors work by creating an electromagnetic field. When a metal object passes through, it becomes energized and begins to transmit a magnetic field of its own. This is what causes the machine to beep.

Artificial joints contain surgical metals, which is why they usually trigger alarms at airport security. Dental implants are made of titanium, a metal that is capable of setting off a detector. So why don’t tooth replacements make metal detectors beep like artificial knees and hips do? It’s because titanium is more difficult to detect and only a tiny amount is used in a tooth implant.

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Airport Security

If your tooth implants do set off the airport metal detectors, it doesn’t mean you’re in for a long security delay. You might be embarrassed, but as long as you’ve given yourself a little extra time to get through security — which many travelers make sure to do — you’ll be able to make your flight.

Worst-case scenario, you’ll be pulled aside for further screening. At that time, you can tell the TSA agents about your tooth implants, but you may still have to undergo a pat-down. In any case, you’ll likely be on your way in a very short time.

Dental Implants and International Airports

International airports may have different screening protocols than the TSA, but tooth replacements aren’t any more likely to be a problem outside of the U.S.

The science behind airport metal detectors doesn’t vary from country to country, and the same basic principles of security apply, no matter where you travel. If your tooth implants trigger an alarm, you can expect an extra level of screening.

For more tips and information on living with dental implants, make an appointment with Dr. Partridge or Dr. Maxfield at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah. Both specialize in tooth restoration, and each has over 10 years of experience performing implant surgery and related oral surgery procedures.

With three Salt Lake City area offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan and Tooele, getting advice on tooth replacement from the professionals at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah couldn’t be more convenient. For answers to all your questions about dental implants, contact us today to schedule a consultation.