Dental Drill Accident: What Happened To The Dental Patient?

By iScience Times Staff Reporter on December 29, 2012 12:44 PM EST

Could a dental drill accident like this happen again?
Could a dental drill accident like this happen again? (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

A dental drill accident that left a piece lodged in a woman's right lung has left dental patients even more afraid of routine procedures.

After a 60-year-old woman in Västerås, Sweden bit down on the drill head, known as a burr, during dental-implant surgery, the piece became loose and fell into her mouth and lung. 

"She tried to spit it out, and was made to cough, but she'd already swallowed," the hospital's medical chief, Per Weitz, told the Swedish newspaper The Local. 

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But the dentist wasn't sure how far the piece had fallen. The patient, who survived, was soon X-rayed, and doctors realized the long drill head had gotten into her right lung. Then "a pinky-sized tube was sent into her lung with a small camera and pliers to grab hold of the drill," Weitz said, explaining the bronchoscopy procedure.

Though the patient was able to leave the hospital the next day, it took her a month to recover from the accident.

Extremely concerned about the severity of the incident, the hospital is trying to institute measures so something of this nature doesn't occur again. "What we've done at the clinic is to make sure everyone double checks that the drill is attached properly, and we've also introduced a routine of testing the drill in the air. That should be done before every procedure now," Weitz said.

But, he warns patients: "Unfortunately, drills are going to be dropped every now and then."

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

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