According to a lawsuit filed by his family, a man in Louisiana died after his dentures became lodged in his throat during surgery, causing breathing problems and a stroke.

The Case of the Dislodged Dentures

According to a filing in Louisiana, the man was admitted for inpatient care after complaining of abdominal pain,  nausea, vomiting, and constipation. He had been diagnosed with a ventral hernia and small bowel obstruction and was ordered to undergo surgery. Three days later he was in surgery.

According to the lawsuit, there is no mention in the anesthesiologist’s report that the man had dentures when he underwent anesthesia prior to surgery. Although the surgery was successful, two days later he was found to be unresponsive and was diagnosed as having had a stroke.

After the stroke diagnosis, a nurse allegedly found that his dentures had been stuck in his throat, causing breathing problems and leading to the stroke. A year later, he died of complications related to the stroke.

Take Precautions with Dentures during Surgery

It’s impossible for us to know about the actual circumstances of what happened in this case, but it’s an important reminder for denture wearers.

Make sure that your doctor knows about your dentures. It’s likely your regular doctor does, but if you check in for medical care at a hospital or surgical center, make sure that people performing your surgery are told about them.

The Denture Fountain of Youth® is designed to be very secure, but no matter how well-fitting your removable dentures are, it’s important to remove them for surgery. It’s normal practice for the hospital to recommend removal. Often, they are sensitive to your concerns, and you can remove them after visitors have left, put them in a cup for surgery, then put them back in before visitors return.

This is important not just for your safety, but for protection of your dentures. When a doctor is working in your mouth or if an anesthesiologist in performing intubation, your dentures can be broken or may interfere with breathing.