Swallowing dental foreign objects is common, with X-rays often revealing dentures, toothbrushes and toothpicks lodged in patients' throats and stomachs, according to a recent report in General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed journal of the Academy of General Dentistry.
"Any foreign dental object that is swallowed and becomes lodged in the throat or stomach can cause a potentially life threatening situation," says Charles H. Perle, DMD, FAGD, spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry, an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education. "Accidentally swallowing a denture may happen during sleep, due to a poor fitting appliance or even possibly during an intoxicated episode."
Denture wearers must remember that the bone underneath their denture will change, changing the shape of the mouth, but not of the denture, in turn causing a loose-fitting appliance. In addition to increasing the chance of swallowing the appliance, a loose fitting denture cause loss of palate sensitivity making the patient more prone to swallowing chicken or fish bones.
Dr. Perle has also treated non-denture wearing patients that have ingested pennies, toys, pen caps, bobbie pins and sewing needles.