When Dentures Go Missing Where Do They Go? The Esophagus!

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BMJ Case Reports

Missing dentures while sleeping

A 55-year-old man in India unknowingly swallowed a piece of his dentures at night. This man was a diagnosed case of epilepsy since childhood. He was taking medications to prevent these seizures.

One night he had a seizure during his sleep and woke up the next morning unaware of what had happened the night before. He found one-half of his dentures on his bed, whereas the other half was nowhere to be found. Deeming them lost, he continued with his daily routine.

The consequences that followed

Five days after this occurrence he started having trouble swallowing, chest tightness, and cough. These symptoms worsened within the next 3 days, which forced him to get a check-up. At this point, he was starting to realize what the cause may be.

Chest imaging reveals dentures

Sure enough, the Chest X-ray revealed what he had feared. The missing part of his dentures was lodged at the lower end of his esophagus!

“His denture got stuck in the lower third of the esophagus, and it could not move down into the stomach.”

Dr. Vinoth Boopathy, a gastroenterologist at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute in Puducherry, India.

 Removal of the dentures: a tricky ordeal

Surprisingly, the dentures which had been present in his esophagus for about 8 days, had not pierced the esophageal wall. Despite this, removing them was a difficult task owing to their shape and the position they had gotten stuck in.

After a complicated surgery, requiring multiple attempts and two different techniques, the foreign object was removed from his body.

The complications that followed

Due to the difficult operation, the man developed fever shortly after and had to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks. In addition to this, he developed a minor tear in his esophagus. He was administered antibiotics to prevent any infection.

No further complications were reported, and the 55-year-old was counseled by the doctors to switch from dentures to dental implants.

“I have treated many cases of people accidentally swallowing their dentures, and almost all of them involve removable acrylic dentures.”

Dr. Vinoth Boopathy, a gastroenterologist at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute in Puducherry, India.

Reference:

https://www.livescience.com/52459-missing-dentures-found-esophagus.html

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