Can You Inhale Your Tooth While Sleeping? Here's How It Sent One Girl to the Hospital
This probably wasn't the kind of tooth fairy surprise she was hoping for.
A nine-year-old suffered a whole different sort of nightmare when she inhaled her own tooth in her sleep—and had to have it surgically removed from her lung.
An unnamed child from Turkey was rushed to the hospital after her parents realized her tooth, which was in her mouth when she went to bed the night before, was nowhere to be seen. Doctors performed an X-ray and found the tooth lodged in the left main bronchus—the airway leading to her left lung. Surgeons removed the tooth surgically by Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy, a procedure that involves inserting a flexible tube down the trachea. The patient was “discharged with cure,” according to an article published in the journal Clinical Case Reports International in February 2019.
Foreign body aspiration, or FBA, involves inhaling a foreign object into the respiratory system and it can often be a life-threatening condition. Luckily, in this patient’s case, her parents’ quick decision to take her to the doctor potentially saved her life—despite the fact that she didn’t present any of the typical FBA symptoms like coughing or wheezing. FBA can be particularly dangerous in babies under the age of three because their tracheas are relatively smaller in diameter, making it easier for objects to get stuck in their airways.
“The fact that the event occurred at home and that they knew the aspirated tooth had been loosen reveals the need for parents to be trained about FBA," Busra Sultan Kibar, the leading doctor in the case, wrote.
"Family training will contribute to prevention of preventable child deaths," the doctor added.
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