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National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144-151

Accidental aspiration/ingestion of foreign bodies in dentistry: A clinical and legal perspective

1 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
2 Division of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Centre for Dental Education and Research, AII India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Yadav
Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, King George's Medical University, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0975-5950.183855

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The potential of foreign body aspiration or ingestion is a worldwide health problem in dentistry. The general dental practitioners should be extremely attentive in handling of minor instruments during any intervention related to the oral cavity, especially in the supine or semi-recumbent position of the patient. Aspiration cases are usually more critical and less common than ingestion. We report a case of iatrogenic aspiration of an endodontic broach, which gets disclosed during the recording of past dental history of the patient. The patient was asymptomatic during that time. A quick posterior-anterior chest radiograph was taken which revealed the presence of broach in the lower lobe of the left lung. The patient was immediately referred to the pulmonary medicine department where the fiberoptic bronchoscope retrieval was planned, and the same was carried out successfully under local anesthesia. Although such accidents have rare occurrence, the associated risks and morbidity are too high to be overlooked, especially from the viewpoint of special care, resources, and the associated financial cost required for their management. Moreover, practitioners are also liable for malpractice litigation given the fact that such cases are avoidable. This article also discusses relevant review literature, risk factors, symptoms, and management of such iatrogenic accidents along with drawing attention to the significance of preventive measures and their role in avoiding meritorious legal and ethical issues.

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