What to Do If You Swallow a Dental Bridge

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Swallowing a dental bridge can make you panic.
Swallowing a dental bridge can make you panic.

Something strange just happened. You were merrily eating your egg salad on a bagel when all of a sudden you realized some of your teeth were missing. If they were teeth that were part of a dental bridge, and the bridge is nowhere to be found, odds are you swallowed the device. While the thought may make you panic, you can apply a few time-tested strategies to handle the situation.

Wait

You could simply do nothing. The bridge will naturally pass through your system within three or four days. You would only do yourself harm by trying to speed up the process by taking laxatives or forcing yourself to vomit. Unless your bridge is particularly large, such as nearly the size of a full set of dentures, it likely will come out without complications. You may want to order a new bridge, as the old one will be fairly disgusting. But with proper sterilization, it could be reused.

X-rays

If your bridge was particularly large or you are the type to worry, you could get an X-ray to locate the bridge. Bridges that show up best in X-rays have metal attachments, but even those without metal can often be detected. Depending on their size, they may reveal themselves in front of part of the intestines or another organ. If the doctor determines the bridge poses no hazard, you can relax. In the rare event, the bridge is lodged in a potentially harmful spot, you may have to consult a surgeon.

Surgery

As noted before, the bridge usually will pass through your system in several days. If, however, you are suddenly beset with severe abdominal pain, a throat blockage or the feeling that you cannot swallow or breathe, head for an emergency room. Although such instances are highly unusual, they can happen. Even if it's not blocking your throat or intestine, a bridge can become lodged in a dangerous place or tear an internal organ.

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