Dentistry is a field where treatment is based on both medical and surgical management. A majority are operative treatments which require specific tools and techniques. Sometimes during instrumentation, a dentist can make procedural error resulting in breakage of the tool.
Tip of the dental instrument extracted from the gums after 5 long years
A Thai woman recently underwent corrective surgery to remove the tip of a dental instrument which was stuck in her gums for a total of five years. Apart from some minor symptoms, she did not know that this could cause a problem. She became aware of the underlying issue when her gums got infected.
Krittika Rhittikhan is a 33-year-old patient from Mukdahan, a town in Thailand.
Five years ago, she visited a hospital for the tooth extraction procedure. Apparently, the tip of the dental instrument broke off and remained inside her gums. At the time, she was told that the tip would automatically come off upon the healing of the socket.
From then onwards, Krittika started experiencing an unexplained numbness in her tongue and lower lip. Earlier this year she realized that the tip was still embedded in her mouth. Unfortunately, she suffered from an infection in the gums surrounding the tip. She visited the Khon Kaen University’s dental hospital to diagnose the same.
The surgery was completed in half an hour. A team of four dentists performed the surgery after which a press conference was held. The woman expressed relief for the success of the surgery and thanked the operating dentists. She will require additional treatment for six months including vitamin supplements to promote the destroyed nerves.
Dental instruments tend to be quite small in size which makes this error not so uncommon in the clinical practice. Experts urge us to seek help if there is any doubt that a part of an instrument has been left in the oral cavity. If there are symptoms such as pain, numbness or sensitivity after dental treatment, it is always better to follow up with your dentist to avoid a case like this gum mishap. Since the body tends to reject foreign particles, it’s only a matter of time for such an error to result in inflammation and infection.
Dealing with such gum mishaps
Due precautions must be taken during an operative procedure. The protocol should be observed to minimize the risk of procedural errors in dentistry. Many times it becomes very expensive and taxing to the patient, especially if surgery is required. More importantly, if such an occurrence, like this gum mishap, can be prevented instead of having to be corrected, that is the best way out.