Endoscopic retrieval of an accidentally ingested bur during a dental procedure: a case report

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Patient Safety in Surgery


Background: Accidental ingestion of a dental bur during the dental procedure is a rare, but a potentially serious complication. Early recognition and foreign body retrieval is essential to prevent adverse patient outcomes. Case presentation: A 76-year old male patient, presented to the department with a chief complaint of sensitivity in his upper right back tooth due to attrition. After assessing the pulp status, root canal therapy was planned for the tooth. During the procedure, it was noticed that the dental bur slipped out of the hand piece and the patient had accidentally ingested it. The patient was conscious and had no trouble while breathing at the time of ingestion of the bur although he had mild cough which lasted for a short duration. The dental procedure was aborted immediately and the patient was taken to the hospital for emergency care. The presence and location of the dental bur was confirmed using chest and abdominal x-rays and it was subsequently retrieved by esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) procedure under general anaesthesia on the same day as a part of the emergency procedure. The analysis of this case reaffirms the importance of the use of physical barriers such as rubber dams and gauze screens as precautionary measures to prevent such incidents from occurring. Conclusion: Ingestion of instruments are uncertain and hazardous complications to encounter during a dental procedure. The need for physical barrier like rubber dam is mandatory for all dental procedures. However, the dentist should be well trained to handle such medical emergencies and reassure the patient by taking them into confidence. Each incident encountered should be thoroughly documented to supply adequate guidance for treatment aspects. This would fulfil the professional responsibilities of the dentist/ clinician and may help avoid possible legal and ethical issues. This case report emphasizes on the need for the usage of physical barriers during dental procedures in order to avoid medical emergencies.



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