Man lucky to be alive after swallowing dentures

Lucky escape for grillz wearer

Dentures removed in life-saving op. Credit: XiXinXing/

A man cheated death after accidentally swallowing his own dentures.

According to a report in The New York Post last night, Friday, May 19, a 22-year-old unnamed man in Wisconsin, USA, was lucky to be alive when he accidentally swallowed his cosmetic dentures.

The victim was wearing what are known as grillz, a type of jewellery which is worn over the teeth, a trend started by American hip-hop artists. Unfortunately, the man suffered an epileptic seizure during which he swallowed the silver-plated metal dentures.

His situation became very serious as the grillz did not pass through his throat and into his digestive system, but instead went down the wrong hole and became lodged in the entrance to his lung.

This freak accident caused the man to experience severe coughing and difficulty in breathing. After an X-ray, medics discovered that a four-centimetre piece of his dentures was stuck in his right main stem bronchus, a vital passageway to his lung.

Doctors then performed an emergency treatment called a bronchoscopy to try and remove the foreign body. This is a procedure which involves feeding a bronchoscope, a thin flexible tube, down the throat to the blocked airway.

Delighted with the successful operation, the doctors later discharged the man together with a course of steroids.

The Cureus medical journal highlighted this specific case and the all-too-common occurrence of dental foreign bodies being breathed in and informed readers of the ‘dangers of non-implanted dental devices.’

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.