If I get dental veneers or dental crowns, Will my Ghusl (ablution) be valid? Do I need to take them off?

Details of the Question
I have a question that I have been trying to find the answer, but have been unsuccessful. I am in my late 30's and my top 4 front teeth have gaps, and are crooked and misshaped. They are very noticeable so I don't smile much because it makes me feel very self conscious. My teeth are too weak for braces. Is it allowed in Islam to cover teeth with dental crowns, or dental veneers? Someone mentioned that because Dental crowns and dental veneers cover the actual tooth, wudu is not accepted, because water does not wet the original tooth. Is this true, if I get dental veneers or dental crowns, wudu will not happen and my namaz will not be accepted? I am very confused. Please clarify. Thanks. Sister
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

According to Hanafi sect, the inside of the mouth and the nose are regarded as the outside part of the body. Therefore, it is necessary to rinse the mouth and nose during fard ghusl. Those who say that dental filling and coating prevent ghusl act on that principle and have the opinion that the ghusl of those who have their teeth filled and coated is not valid.

As it is known, when a tooth decays and its center becomes hollow, it is either pulled out and replaced by a denture or the hollow part is filled. When the denture is placed the adjacent teeth are thinned and coated. That treatment is carried out due to an obligation. Today, in the treatment of teeth, one of those methods is certainly used. If the tooth is not filled, it goes on decaying and the tooth is lost. In order to prevent it, the tooth is filled and maintained for a long time. Thus, it is understood that that application is obligatory.

If a tooth is filled or coated due to an obligation, that filling and coating material are regarded to be a part of the tooth. Therefore, it does not prevent ghusl.

An incident that can shed light on the issue took place in the Age of Bliss. The nose of Afraja bin Asad, a sahaba, had been cut off during a battle before Islam. After that he had a silver nose fitted but a bad smell from the nose disturbed him and others. He told the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) about it. He advised him to have a golden nose fitted.1

Acting upon that hadith, some Islamic scholars, primarily Imam Muhammad, stated that there was no drawback to having one’s teeth filled and coated; they even said that it was permissible to use gold for it. It is possible to find out about the essence of the issue in the explanation of that hadith.2

In addition, it is expressed in fiqh books that the paint in the nail of the painter and the food residue in the teeth do not prevent ghusl. Dental filling is something like that. Although it is possible to remove the food residue between or in the teeth and the paint in the nail, it is not possible to remove the dental filling and wash inside the tooth.  Therefore, dental filling does not prevent ghusl.

If the coating or filling is carried out due to an obligation, which is usually the case, it is the treatment of the decaying tooth; it does not prevent ghusl. That obligation should be determined by a religious and authoritative doctor. Badiuzzaman, who states that the coating carried out as a result of the advice of such a doctor has no drawback in terms of religion and that the tooth under it is regarded as an invisible part of the mouth rather than invisible, explains the issue as follows in a letter answering a question:

“The fact that the part under the coating is not washed during the ghusl does not invalidate ghusl because the coating over it is washed and the coating replaces it. The bandage over a wound is not removed during ghusl so that it will not harm the wound and washing the bandage is regarded as washing the wound religiously; similarly, washing the fixed coating applied on a tooth due to an obligation is like washing the tooth and it does not invalidate ghusl. Allah knows it best. The permission depends on an obligation; coating and filling the teeth for adornment without any obligation is not permissible. When something that interests everybody becomes an obligation and when someone misuses it deliberately although he does not need it, it does not become permissible. If it happens inadvertently, it will not be permissible for obligation.”3

However, the removable dentures need to be removed during the ghusl while washing the mouth.

That issue is present only in Hanafi sect. In other sects, for instance, according to Shafiis, it is sunnah to wash inside the mouth during ghusl, not fard. According to that sect, it does not prevent ghusl whether the tooth is filled, coated or replaced. 

However, there are two points that we must not forget. The first one is that a religious and authoritative doctor must say that filling or coating the tooth is necessary... If such a doctor states that it is an obligation, that treatment is carried out; it does not prevent ghusl; that permission can be used. Suppose that a doctor does not think and does not say that it is necessary but someone wants his teeth to be coated as an adornment and to show off.

Those who have their teeth coated acting upon that second concept cannot make use of the permission given to the first group. Their ghusl will not be valid because they do not have their teeth coated due to a necessity. They do it just for adornment. They do it although they do not have to.

The rumors that filling and coating teeth prevent ghusl are related to the second type of people who do it without an obligation. Those who misunderstand it think that it is about the teeth that are filled or coated due to the advice of a religious and authoritative doctor; and they feel disturbance and make mistakes.

As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the valuable fiqh book Multaqa explanation reported from a fatwa book:  

— Is the ghusl of a person who has had to have his tooth filled and cannot remove that filling during ghusl and rinses his mouth while the filling is fitted valid?

The answer: yes, it is. There is no need to doubt. 4

1. Tirmidhi, Libas: 31; Abu Dawud, Khatam: 7.
2. Sarakhsi. al-Mabsut, 1:132.
3. Barla Lâhikası, p.157.
4- Explained Multaqa translation, Taharah, p. 32
See Mehmed Paksu İbadet Hayatımız

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