When a dental procedure is performed in Georgia, serious injuries can often result. However, one type of injury is completely preventable — ingestion of (either whole or pieces that have broken off) dental instruments such as drill bits, root canal files, and teeth. Since the patient is most often lying prone in the dental chair and not cognizant of what is going on around them, it is encumbent upon the dentist to protect the airway so that nothing gets dropped down the patient’s throat, which could lead to dental instruments either being entrapped in the lungs, stomache or intestines.
“I was at the dentist getting a root canal, and then next thing I know I was told I swallowed a tool,” is a comment that I have heard in the past. “I didn’t really even feel it going down. All I felt was a slight cough. When they did the xrya they realized, you swallowed it, and it is in your stomach,” is another sentiment that has been relayed to our office by dental patients who have swallowed dental instruments , sometimes without their knowledge. Often, once the dentral instrument has made its way past the throat, it continues to work its way down the intestinal tract, or worse, can wind up deep in a lung.