A 10-Year Review of the Complications Caused by Ingested and Aspirated Dentures

Jessica Daniels, Babatunde Oremule, William Tsang, Sadie Kwhaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Dentures are worn by 20% of the United Kingdom population for both physical and psychological symptoms associated with tooth loss. However, significant morbidity and mortality can result if dentures are swallowed or aspirated. This 10-year review investigated the development of complications following denture aspiration or ingestion, and identified key learning points. METHODS: The Medline database was searched for cases of denture ingestion or aspiration from October 1, 2009, to October 31, 2019. Search terms included "dental prosthesis, denture, dental plate, bridge and false teeth" and "swallow, ingest, eat, aspirate and inhale." Potential factors influencing the development of complications were assessed (hollow viscus perforation, fistula formation, abscess, bowel obstruction, necrosis, hemorrhage, and airway obstruction). Statistical analysis was performed using χ2 and Pearson correlation tests in R Studio. No ethical approval was required. RESULTS: Eighty-five patients were identified from 77 case reports. Fourteen articles were excluded due to insufficient information. Complications were documented in 37.6% (n = 32) of patients with 2 cases resulting in death. Duration of symptoms over 1 day (P = .005) and delayed removal beyond 4 days post-ingestion (P = .017) was significantly associated with increased rates of complications. There was no significant association between complication rate and patient age, denture type, level of impaction, or radiolucency. CONCLUSION: Denture aspiration or ingestion can have serious consequences. Factors impacting complication rate revolve around early recognition and treatment. Clinician awareness of the potential risks of dentures is paramount to early diagnosis. We recommend early intervention to reduce the morbidity associated with this unassuming device.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)574-580
Number of pages7
JournalEar, nose, & throat journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • denture
  • ingestion
  • aspiration
  • complications
  • perforation


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