In-vivo compatibility between pacemakers and dental equipment

Eur J Oral Sci. 2018 Aug;126(4):307-315. doi: 10.1111/eos.12534. Epub 2018 Jul 4.


In-vitro studies suggest that electromagnetic interference can occur under specific conditions involving proximity between electronic dental equipment and pacemakers. At present, in-vivo investigations to verify the effect of using electronic dental equipment in clinical conditions on patients with pacemakers are scarce. This study aimed to evaluate, in vivo, the effect of three commonly used electronic dental instruments - ultrasonic dental scaler, electric pulp tester, and electronic apex locator - on patients with different pacemaker brands and configurations. Sixty-six consecutive non-pacemaker-dependent patients were enrolled during regular electrophysiology follow-up visits. Electronic dental tools were operated while the pacemaker was interrogated, and the intracardiac electrogram and electrocardiogram were recorded. No interferences were detected in the intracardiac electrogram of any patient during the tests with dental equipment. No abnormalities in pacemaker pacing and sensing function were observed, and no differences were found with respect to the variables, pacemaker brands, pacemaker configuration, or mode of application of the dental equipment. Electromagnetic interferences affecting the surface electrocardiogram, but not the intracardiac electrogram, were found in 25 (37.9%) patients, especially while using the ultrasonic dental scaler; the intrinsic function of the pacemakers was not affected. Under real clinical conditions, none of the electronic dental instruments tested interfered with pacemaker function.

Keywords: arrhythmia; cardiac implantable electrical devices; electromagnetic interference; electronic dental devices; pacemaker.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dental Equipment*
  • Dental Pulp Test / instrumentation
  • Dental Scaling / instrumentation
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odontometry / methods
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Spain
  • Tooth Apex / anatomy & histology