Physics Van 3-site Navigational Menu

Physics Van Navigational Menu

Q & A: dental shock

Learn more physics!

Most recent answer: 10/01/2016
Q:
I have experienced a very strange phenomenon and I need an explanation. I have a dental implant that has not yet received its crown. It is sticking out of my gums. It's made out of titanium alloy. So there I was eating some bbq ribs (very delicious). So delicious in fact that I ended up licking the sauce out of the aluminium foil in which they were wrapped in. At that moment, some of the aluminium foil made contact with my dental implant and I felt like a very strong electric shock in my jawbone where my dental implant is anchored. I had some numbeness for several minutes afterwards. Now I wasn't touching any electrical wire so I don't know what happened. Could you tell me what is going on? It was a very unpleasant experience. Was it really an electric shock? How's that possible? Thank you.
- Anonymous
A:

There's a pretty big electrochemical potential between Al and Ti. (http://www.qsl.net/n9zia/electrochemical.html) So current would flow between them briefly. I'm not sure but it's possible that they'd act like a battery and keep some current flowing in the acidic environment. So my guess is that it really was an electric shock, driven by battery-like chemistry.

Mike W.


(published on 10/01/2016)

Follow-up on this answer.