A 30-year-old Australian woman wore braces to correct her smile. The braces were removed. Ten years later, she visited a hospital with severe abdominal pain and doctors extracted a 7-centimeter piece of orthodontic wire in her small intestine.
She doesn’t remember how it ended up there.
Doctors are still unsure of how orthodontic wire – especially of that length – could wind up being ingested. One theory is that a piece of wire is lost in the mouth of a sedated patient.
What does this mean for braces-wearers today?
Most orthodontic patients never have to be sedated, so this is little to no risk to the average person.
Loose bands could get lost in your mouth, however. But you’re not likely to swallow many, if any at all. If you did accidentally ingest a band, it wouldn’t do any serious damage.
The possibility of swallowing a dangerous piece of orthodontic wire is ridiculously small. A bizarre story like that of the Australian woman shouldn’t stop you from wearing braces any more than it should stop you from using screws or nails on home projects (those are commonly swallowed on accident).
An entire bracket can come loose off a tooth. If that happens, you would probably notice. Even if you were to swallow it, there’s no need to panic. It would probably pass through your system with no issue, but you may still want to see a doctor for an x-ray.
Parts of braces tend to come loose when they are not properly maintained. Wearing a mouthguard during sports and staying away from crunchy sticky foods will help keep your orthodontia in-tact.
Talk with your local dentist or orthodontist if you have any other concerns about braces.
Posted on behalf of:
Group Health Dental
230 W 41st St
New York, NY 10036
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