Here’s why it’s best to remove false teeth before surgery: You just might swallow them.
A medical journal is reporting the case of a 72-year-old British man whose partial dentures apparently got stuck in his throat during surgery and weren’t discovered for eight days.
The man went to the emergency room because he was having a hard time swallowing and was coughing up blood. Doctors ordered a chest X-ray, diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent him home with antibiotics and steroids.
It took another hospital visit before further X-rays revealed the problem: His dentures — a metal roof plate and three false teeth — lodged at the top of this throat.
The man thought his dentures were lost while he was in the hospital for minor surgery.
How it happened isn’t exactly clear, but a half-dozen previous cases have been documented of dentures going astray as surgical patients were put to sleep.
Placing a tube in a patient’s airway can push things where they don’t belong, said Dr Mary Dale Peterson, an anaesthesiologist at Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Besides dentures, retainers, loose teeth and tongue piercings can cause problems, said Peterson, who is president-elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
In the British case, after the dentures were removed, the man had several bouts of bleeding that required more surgery before he recovered. The journal article didn’t identify the man or the hospital involved.
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