People often need to explain themselves when they go through airport security with medical devices. If you're wondering if a permanent tooth loss solution like dental implants is one of these, here's what you need to know.
Where the Concern Comes From
Any kind of metal used on or in the body is typically detected by airport screeners. Most airports now use special 3D imagery scans that allow them to detect the difference between hard and soft materials anywhere on the body, so even though the implants will be completely submerged, they may still be visible on the scan. Some people have been held for questioning or missed their flight due to being pulled aside by security for having unknown objects appear on the scan. Since implants are partially made out of titanium, it stands to reason that someone might be concerned about getting on a plane.
The good news is, your dental implants shouldn't be a problem. Dental work is one of the most common kinds of surgeries that are performed on people, after all. If security stopped everyone who came through with braces, titanium implants, or a metal filling, getting through security would take even longer than it already does.
It's true that dental implants use titanium screws to keep the implant in place. However, the actual peg of the implant is very small -- the very largest are 6mm in diameter, while the smallest can be as small as 2mm. This size, when combined with its location on the scan as deep in your gums or bone, is unlikely to set off any concerns among the TSA or other airport security screeners.
If you're still concerned and want everything to go well, you really don't need to worry. Even so, there is a precaution you can take to that may help to ease your concerns.
Simply talk to your dentist and have them write a signed letter, as your dentist, explaining what work you've had done and the locations of the implants. You can show this to anyone who questions the scan.
Getting onto an airplane itself is absolutely safe with dental implants, and you have no reason to be concerned about getting through security. If you're still on the fence about getting dental implants or you already have them but haven't been on a plane lately, don't fret. Talk to your dentist if you have concerns, and enjoy your time in the sky.