What Not to Do with Your False Teeth

A medical case from 1844 involved a young man who swallowed his teeth. He had made himself a partial denture for his missing front teeth, but his dentist boss told him he should never sleep with them in. Vanity won out, and the young man ended up ingesting his denture while sleeping, which killed him. But not immediately. Unable to swallow, he went to the Edinburgh surgeon James Syme, who couldn't dislodge the dentures from his esophagus.

Mr S. now recommended his removal to the hospital, and when there introduced a probang with threads passed through the bulb, the other ends being retained in the hand, trusting that if the bulb could be carried beyond the foreign body, it might be entangled by them, and thus removed. Nothing, however, was detected, and it was believed that it had found its way into the stomach,—an opinion which was rendered the more probable by the fact, that the difficult deglutition was by no means so great as previously.

He no longer had trouble swallowing, in other words.

Yet his troubles were just beginning. Read the rest of the horrid story of the killer dentures at Thomas Morris. -via Strange Company


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