Swallowed Dentures: An Analysis of Denture Impaction Events in Pennsylvania


  • Elizabeth Kukielka, PharmD, MA, RPH Patient Safety Authority
  • Rebecca Jones, MBA, RN Patient Safety Authority




choking, denture, denture impaction, edentulism, intubation, swallowed dentures, delayed diagnosis


Tooth loss is a prevalent health concern affecting two-thirds of the geriatric population in the United States. Most patients replace missing teeth with dentures, which have the potential to become dislodged, swallowed, and stuck somewhere along the gastrointestinal tract (termed denture impaction). We queried the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) and identified 68 denture impaction events reported from 2004 to 2019. An in-depth analysis revealed that patients were most often male, and the median patient age was 77 years. The most common symptoms reported by patients with denture impaction included difficult and/or painful swallowing, breathing trouble or respiratory distress, sore throat, foreign body sensation in the throat, throat obstruction preventing insertion of a tube or scope, choking, excessively thick and/or bloody oral secretions, and vomiting or regurgitation of food. The pharynx was the most common site of denture impaction, and x-ray imaging was the most common diagnostic test mentioned. The most common method of removal was surgery, and the most common surgical procedures employed were esophagogastroduodenoscopy and laryngoscopy. We believe that we have identified a category of den­ture impaction events that has not previously been characterized. Our study, coupled with the existing medical literature, suggests that all patients, along with their caregivers and healthcare providers, should be aware of the proactive steps to avoid denture impaction, as well as signs and symptoms of impaction for early identification and treatment.

Author Biographies

Elizabeth Kukielka, PharmD, MA, RPH, Patient Safety Authority

Elizabeth Kukielka (ekukielka@pa.gov) is a patient safety analyst on the Data Science and Research team at the Patient Safety Authority. Before joining the PSA, she was a promotional medical writer for numerous publications, including Pharmacy Times and The American Journal of Managed Care. Kukielka also worked for a decade as a community pharmacist and pharmacy manager, with expertise in immunization delivery, diabetes management, medication therapy management, and pharmacy compounding.

Rebecca Jones, MBA, RN, Patient Safety Authority

Rebecca Jones is director of Data Science and Research at the Patient Safety Authority, where she also founded and serves as director of the Center of Excellence for Improving Diagnosis. Her previous roles at the PSA include director of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, and regional patient safety liaison. Before joining the PSA, Jones served in various roles leading patient safety efforts and proactively managing risk in healthcare organizations. She currently is chair of the Practice Committee of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and serves on the Advisory Committee of the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis.


Facts & Figures: American College of Prosthodontics; [accessed January 7, 2020]. Available from: https://www.gotoapro.org/facts-figures/.

Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act, Pub. L. No. 154 Stat. 13 (2002).

Cunniffe HA. Dentures Discovered in Larynx 8 Days After General Anaesthetic. BMJ Case Rep. 2019;12(8). Epub 2019/08/14. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2019-230055. PubMed PMID: 31406002.

Mughal Z, Charlton AR, Dwivedi R, Natesh B. Impacted Denture in the Oesophagus: Review of the Literature and Its Management. BMJ Case Rep. 2019;12(10). Epub 2019/10/28. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2019-229655. PubMed PMID: 31653620.

Samargandy S, Marzouki H, Al-Khatib T, Merdad M. Denture Impaction Causing an Upper Esophageal Diverticulum. Case Rep Gastrointest Med. 2019; 9621383. Epub 2019/08/06. doi: 10.1155/2019/9621383. PubMed PMID: 31380127; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6662433.

Akelma H, Salik F, Basol O, Bilge H, Yildirim A, Ozgun S. Ingestion of Partial Denture After General Anesthesia Induction and Ventilation: A Rare Case Report. Case Rep Surg. 2019;8726508. Epub 2019/07/06. doi: 10.1155/2019/8726508. PubMed PMID: 31275689; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6560317.

Wehrmann F, Hashim E, Mansoor S. Ingested Partial Denture Mimicking Perforated Diverticular Disease. J Surg Case Rep. 2019;(3):rjz071. Epub 2019/03/21. doi: 10.1093/jscr/rjz071. PubMed PMID: 30891177; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6416821.

Abu Ghanimeh M, Abughanimeh O, Albadarin S, Kaddourah O, Helzberg JH. Dental Impaction in the Cecum: Case Report and Review of Gastrointestinal Foreign Body Impactions. Case Rep Gastrointest Med. 2018;2154879. Epub 2018/07/10. doi: 10.1155/2018/2154879. PubMed PMID: 29984011; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6015707.

Flanagan M, Clancy C, MG OR. Impaction of Swallowed Dentures in the Sigmoid Colon Requiring Sigmoid Colectomy. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2018;47:89-91. Epub 2018/05/13. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2018.04.033. PubMed PMID: 29753276; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5994734.

Lawrence M, Fan K. Swallowed Partial Denture. Br Dent J. 2018;224(5):288. Epub 2018/03/10. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2018.180. PubMed PMID: 29521367.

Bist SS, Luthera M, Arora P, Kumar L. Missing Aspirated Impacted Denture Requiring Tracheotomy for Removal. Iran J Otorhinolaryngol. 2017;29(95):359-63. Epub 2018/02/01. PubMed PMID: 29383318; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5785116.

Dorner J, Spelter H, Zirngibl H, Ambe PC. Surgical Retrieval of a Swallowed Denture in a Schizophrenic Patient: A Case Report. Patient Saf Surg. 2017;11:28. Epub 2017/12/23. doi: 10.1186/s13037-017-0147-8. PubMed PMID: 29270222; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5735889.

Shaukat NM, Lenz A, Desai P. Ultrasound-Guided Removal of Hypopharyngeal Foreign Body in the Emergency Department. Ultrasound. 2017;25(4):245-7. Epub 2017/11/23. doi: 10.1177/1742271x17704681. PubMed PMID: 29163661; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5676525.

Abdullah M, Cui J, Hendaheva R. Sigmoid Perforation Caused by Dentures-A Rare Case Report. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2017;41:280-2. Epub 2017/11/12. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2017.10.030. PubMed PMID: 29127915; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5683739.

Mohajeri G, Fakhari S, Ghaffarzadeh Z, Piri-Ardakani M. A Case of the Long Time Presence of a Large Foreign Body in Esophagus Without Complication. Adv Biomed Res. 2016;5:205. Epub 2017/02/22. doi: 10.4103/2277-9175.191001. PubMed PMID: 28217643; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5220683.

Tshuma M, Velchuru V, Waters GA. Unsuspected Radiolucent Partial Denture Impaction in the Sigmoid Colon Mimicking Malignancy. BJR Case Rep. 2017;3(2):20160074. Epub 2016/12/19. doi: 10.1259/bjrcr.20160074. PubMed PMID: 30363211; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6159238.

Funayama K, Fujihara J, Takeshita H, Takatsuka H. An Autopsy Case Of Prolonged Asphyxial Death Caused by the Impacted Denture in the Esophagus. Leg Med (Tokyo). 2016;23:95-8. Epub 2016/11/29. doi: 10.1016/j.legalmed.2016.10.006. PubMed PMID: 27890112.

Gachabayov M, Isaev M, Orujova L, Isaev E, Yaskin E, Neronov D. Swallowed Dentures: Two Cases and a Review. Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2015;4(4):407-13. Epub 2015/12/05. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2015.10.008. PubMed PMID: 26635957; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4637341.

Boopathy V, Bakshi SS, Balasubramanian P, Dakshinamoorthy S. Neglected Partial Denture in the Lower Oesophagus Presenting After 7 Days. BMJ Case Rep. 2015; Epub 2015/10/02. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2015-211400. PubMed PMID: 26424822; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4593268.

Soulsby EL, Burns A. Too Much To Swallow? A Case Report of an Ingested Denture. Eur J Prosthodont Restor Dent. 2015;23(1):46-8. Epub 2015/09/30. PubMed PMID: 26415338.

Chawla A, Bosco J, Subramanian M, Chokkapan K, Shenoy J, Lim TC. Imaging Findings of Swallowed Dentures: A Case Series. Emerg Radiol. 2015;22(6):717-21. Epub 2015/08/01. doi: 10.1007/s10140-015-1334-5. PubMed PMID: 26227416.

Slade PM, Larsen MP. Dysphagia, Dysphonia and Sore Throat Following Cerebral Infarction: An Unexpected Cause. BMJ Case Rep. 2015; Epub 2015/07/08. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2015-210091. PubMed PMID: 26150638; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4493177.

Zihni I, Karakose O, Ozcelik KC, Pulat H, Duran A. Foreign Body in the Stomach: Dentures. Turk J Surg. 2017;33(3):222-3. Epub 2015/07/06. doi: 10.5152/ucd.2015.3053. PubMed PMID: 28944340; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC5602319.

Khadda S, Yadav AK, Ali A, Parmar A, Beniwal H, Nagar A. A Rare Case Report Of Sigmoid Colon Perforation Due to Accidental Swallowing of Partial Denture. Indian J Surg. 2015;77(2):152-4. Epub 2015/07/04. doi: 10.1007/s12262-015-1299-3. PubMed PMID: 26139972; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4484521.

Gunjan D, Rana SS, Gupta R, Bhasin DK. Tracheo-Esophageal Fistula Following Spontaneous Migration of a Missed Impacted Denture. Endoscopy. 2015;47 Suppl 1 UCTN:E331-2. Epub 2015/06/27. doi: 10.1055/s-0034-1392326. PubMed PMID: 26115401.

Saunders R. Partial Denture Swallowed by Patient With Dementia. Spec Care Dentist. 2015;35(5):258-60. Epub 2015/06/18. doi: 10.1111/scd.12121. PubMed PMID: 26084039.

Ruckert F, Jonescheit J, Kotzor E, Sold M, Henzler T, Horisberger K. False Teeth in an Apple Core: Unusual Presentation of a Colorectal Carcinoma. Int J Surg Case Rep. 2015;8c:18-21. Epub 2015/01/21. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2014.12.035. PubMed PMID: 25603486; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4353945.

Abe K, Miki A, Okamura T, Shimada K, Yamamoto T, Aiso M, et al. Endoscopic Removal of a Denture With Clasps Impacted in the Ileocecum. Clin J Gastroenterol. 2014;7(6):506-9. Epub 2014/11/27. doi: 10.1007/s12328-014-0539-6. PubMed PMID: 25425499.

Vallamkondu V, Gatenby A, Shakeel M, Hussain A. Mislaid Dentures: A Cause for Unusual Presentation of Bilateral Vocal Cord Palsy. BMJ Case Rep. 2014. Epub 2014/08/21. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-206146. PubMed PMID: 25139929; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4139553.

Mogi A, Itoh T, Tanaka S, Kuwano H. Rare Case of Lung Abscess Caused by a Swallowed Denture. Ann Thorac Surg. 2014;97(4):1423-5. Epub 2014/04/04. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2013.07.081. PubMed PMID: 24694419.

Kim HS, Kim CH, Kim MO, Joa KL, Chung H, Jung HY. Forgotten Denture in a Hemiplegic Patient. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2014;93(3):267-71. Epub 2013/10/22. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182a92f2f. PubMed PMID: 24141105.

Singh P, Singh A, Kant P, Zonunsanga B, Kuka AS. An Impacted Denture in the Oesophagus-An Endoscopic or a Surgical Emergency-A Case Report. J Clin Diagn Res. 2013;7(5):919-20. Epub 2013/07/03. doi: 10.7860/jcdr/2013/5337.2976. PubMed PMID: 23814744; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC3681071.

Anwuzia-Iwegbu C, Quereshi Y, Walker R, Patel B. Metal Impaction: An Unusual Cause of Dysphagia. BMJ Case Rep. 2013. Epub 2013/07/03. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2013-200000. PubMed PMID: 23814218; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC3703064.

Gallas M, Blanco M, Martinez-Ares D, Rivo E, Garcia-Fontan E, Canizares M. Unnoticed Swallowing of a Unilateral Removable Partial Denture. Gerodontology. 2012;29(2):e1198-200. Epub 2012/05/23. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-2358.2011.00621.x. PubMed PMID: 22612837.

Tihan D, Trabulus D, Altunkaya A, Karaca S, Cihan A, Alis H. Esophageal Perforation Due to Inadvertent Swallowing of a Dental Prosthesis. Turk J Gastroenterol. 2011;22(5):529-33. Epub 2012/01/12. doi: 10.4318/tjg.2011.0290. PubMed PMID: 22234762.

Odigie VI, Yusufu LM, Abur P, Edaigbini SA, Dawotola DA, Mai A. Broncho-Oesophageal Fistula (BOF) Secondary to Missing Partial Denture in an Alcoholic in a Low Resource Country. Oman Med J. 2011;26(1):50-2. Epub 2011/11/02. doi: 10.5001/omj.2011.13. PubMed PMID: 22043381; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC3191609.

Toshima T, Morita M, Sadanaga N, Yoshida R, Yoshinaga K, Saeki H, et al. Surgical Removal Of A Denture With Sharp Clasps Impacted in the Cervicothoracic Esophagus: Report of Three Cases. Surg Today. 2011;41(9):1275-9. Epub 2011/08/30. doi: 10.1007/s00595-010-4467-x. PubMed PMID: 21874430.

Khan MAI, Miah MT, Mahbub MS, Ahasan HN, Rahman MA, Khan MA. Unusual Precordial Pain by Impacted Denture. Journal of Medicine. 2011;12(1):58-60.

Bunni J, Youssef F. Swallowed Dental Bridge Perforating the Terminal Ileum. South Med J. 2010;103(6):593-4. Epub 2010/08/17. doi: 10.1097/SMJ.0b013e3181dfd8a0. PubMed PMID: 20710154.

Campos MS, Nunes FD, Godoy RS, Rodrigues L, Jr., Shinohara EH. Removal of a Partial Denture From the Esophagus With the Aid of an Endoscope. Int J Prosthodont. 2010;23(4):339-41. Epub 2010/07/10. PubMed PMID: 20617222.

Adeyemo AA, Ogunkeyede SA. Denture Impaction in the Oesophagus: Correlation of Site and Duration of Impaction With Sequelae. Ann Ib Postgrad Med. 2019;17(1):65-70. Epub 2019/11/27. PubMed PMID: 31768159; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC6871204.

Wang F, Yang N, Wang Z, Guo X, Hui L. Clinical Analysis of Denture Impaction in the Esophagus of Adults. Dysphagia. 2019. Epub 2019/08/30. doi: 10.1007/s00455-019-10048-3. PubMed PMID: 31463803.

Adedeji TO, Olaosun AO, Sogebi OA, Tobih JE. Denture Impaction in the Oesophagus Experience of a Young ENT Practice in Nigeria. Pan Afr Med J. 2014;18:330. Epub 2014/12/06. doi: 10.11604/pamj.2014.18.330.2871. PubMed PMID: 25478051; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4250017.

Bandyopadhyay SN, Das S, Das SK, Mandal A. Impacted Dentures in the Oesophagus. J Laryngol Otol. 2014;128(5):468-74. Epub 2014/04/25. doi: 10.1017/s002221511400070x. PubMed PMID: 24759356.

Venugopal M, Sagesh M. Partial Denture-- An ENT Surgeon’s Nightmare. J Indian Med Assoc. 2012;110(11):838-9. Epub 2013/06/22. PubMed PMID: 23785926.

Okugbo S, Onyeagwara N. Oesophageal Impacted Dentures at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria. J West Afr Coll Surg. 2012;2(2):102-11. Epub 2012/04/01. PubMed PMID: 25452987; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC4170289.

Baran I, Ergun G, Semiz M. Socio-Demographic and Economic Factors Affecting the Acceptance of Removable Dentures. Eur J Dent. 2007;1(2):104-10. Epub 2007/04/01. PubMed PMID: 19212485; PubMed Central PMCID: PMCPMC2609945.

Russell SL, Gordon S, Lukacs JR, Kaste LM. Sex/Gender Differences in Tooth Loss and Edentulism: Historical Perspectives, Biological Factors, and Sociologic Reasons. Dent Clin North Am. 2013;57(2):317-37. Epub 2013/04/11. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2013.02.006. PubMed PMID: 23570808.

Oral Health Services: World Health Organization; [accessed February 23, 2020]. Available from: https://www.who.int/oral_health/action/services/en/.

Roser M, Ortiz-Ospina E, Ritchie H. Life Expectancy. Our World in Data. 2013.

Dentures in a glass on a purple background.



How to Cite

Kukielka, E., & Jones, R. . (2020). Swallowed Dentures: An Analysis of Denture Impaction Events in Pennsylvania. Patient Safety, 2(2), 69–79. https://doi.org/10.33940/data/2020.6.7



Original Research and Articles
Bookmark and Share

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 > >>