There’s no other paper we’ve featured that deserves the “Health issues I wish I didn’t know about” tag more than this one. Not that there aren’t more disgusting medical case studies out there. Rather, this one makes an already-feared health appointment that much worse. This article summarizes five cases in which patients swallowed dental protheses and instruments. Needless to say, some of these events did not end well. The recommendations of the doctors? If you swallow a dental instrument, the dentist should try to get it out. And if that fails? Don’t ignore it — go to the hospital!
“BACKGROUND: Accidental swallowing or aspiration of dental instruments and prostheses is a complication of dental procedures. Failure to manage these complications appropriately can lead to significant morbidity and possibly death.
CASE DESCRIPTION: The authors present three cases of accidental swallowing of dental instruments during procedures and two cases of aspiration, one during a procedure and one long after the procedure. Although three of these five cases of foreign-body aspiration or ingestion were caught early and the patients were referred for endoscopic retrieval, two patients experienced prolonged symptoms that affected their quality of life before intervention occurred. Practical Implications The authors reviewed the literature and propose an evidence-based algorithm for management of such complications. Adherence to the proposed algorithm may decrease morbidity and mortality and improve patient outcomes.”