Year : 2009 | Volume
: 27 | Issue : 3 | Page : 179--183
Foreign objects in teeth: Retrieval and management
R Aduri, RE Reddy, K Kiran
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Kamineni Institute of Dental Sciences, Narketpally, Nalgonda Dt, Andhra Pradesh, India
Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Kamineni Institute of Dental Sciences, Sreepuram, Narketpally, Nalgonda Dt, Andhra Pradesh - 508 254
The discovery of foreign bodies in the teeth is a special situation, which is often diagnosed accidentally. Detailed case history, clinical and radiographic examinations are necessary to come to a conclusion about the nature, size, location of the foreign body and the difficulty involved in its retrieval. It is more common to find this situation in children as it is a well-known fact that children often tend to have the habit of placing foreign objects in the mouth. Sometimes the foreign objects get stuck in the root canals of the teeth, which the children do not reveal to their parents due to fear. These foreign objects may act as a potential source of infection and may later lead to a painful condition. This paper discusses the types of foreign objects found in and around the teeth and reports two cases along with their retrieval and associated management of the involved teeth.
|How to cite this article:|
Aduri R, Reddy R E, Kiran K. Foreign objects in teeth: Retrieval and management.J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent 2009;27:179-183
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Aduri R, Reddy R E, Kiran K. Foreign objects in teeth: Retrieval and management. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent [serial online] 2009 [cited 2021 Mar 9 ];27:179-183
Available from: https://www.jisppd.com/text.asp?2009/27/3/179/57100
Injury to both the hard and soft tissues may occur as a consequence of child's habit of placing foreign objects into the mouth. Foreign objects may become a potent source of pain and infection. The chance of these foreign objects getting impacted into the tooth is more when the pulp chamber is open either because of traumatic injury or a large carious exposure. Retrieval of foreign objects from the teeth in children is a challenging aspect of pediatric dental practice. These objects can be easily retrieved if they are located within the pulp chamber, but once the object has been pushed apically, their retrieval may be complicated. Apical surgical procedures may sometimes be necessary.
The following case reports describe the retrieval of foreign objects impacted into the teeth and into the periapical region including successful management of such teeth thereafter.
The following case describes the successful retrieval of a stapler pin from the palatal root of a permanent maxillary first molar.
A 12-year-old girl reported to the Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, Kamineni Institute of Dental Sciences, India with a chief complaint of pain in the left maxillary first molar tooth [Figure 1]. Patient gave a history of pain from the past one month. Radiographic examination of the tooth revealed a radioopaque object resembling a stapler pin overlapping the image of the tooth and a periapical abscess [Figure 2]. Same side Lingual Opposite side Buccal [SLOB] rule was performed to confirm whether the foreign object was lying in the root or in the adjacent soft tissues. The stapler pin was confirmed to lie in the palatal root of 26.
A conventional access cavity was prepared, and the pulp chamber was irrigated with normal saline. A thin, tapering, Diamond fissure bur was used to slightly widen the orifice of the palatal canal and to facilitate access for instrumentation. An ultrasonic scaler was used to clear the debris from the palatal root canal orifice and also to facilitate loosening of the stapler pin. When the stapler pin was adequately visible clinically, it was engaged with a shepherd's hook explorer and removed [Figure 3]. The canal was copiously irrigated with saline, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hypochlorite. After repeated dressings with non-setting calcium hydroxide, the tooth was obturated. Gross destruction of the tooth structure necessitated the placement of a preformed post in the palatal canal to rehabilitate the crown structure [Figure 4].
A 10-year-old male patient reported to our department with a history of pain in the upper front tooth [Figure 5]. He had suffered dental trauma two and a half years back. Intra-oral examination revealed a complicated enamel-dentine fracture with a slit-like opening involving the pulp chamber of the tooth 21. The tooth exhibited the following clinical features:
Swelling in the labial vestibule.Grade 1 mobility.Tenderness in the labial sulcus.Pain on percussion andA draining sinus on the attached gingiva.
An intra-oral periapical radiograph revealed the presence of radio-opaque object in the periapical region of left maxillary central incisor [Figure 6]. History revealed that the patient had the habit of chewing onto stapler pins. A tetanus vaccine booster dose was administered to the patient in the very first appointment. A conventional access cavity was prepared and the pulp chamber was cleared of debris by copious irrigation with saline solution. Routine endodontic procedure followed by dressing with non-setting calcium hydroxide was performed. Once the acute periapical symptoms subsided, obturation of tooth was done. Apicoectomy was planned in the next visit, which involved removal of the foreign object and retrograde restoration of 21 [Figure 7],[Figure 8],[Figure 9].
Various foreign objects were reported to be lodged in the root canals and the pulp chamber, which ranged from pencil leads  , darning needles  , metal screws  , to beads  and stapler pins.  Grossman  reported retrieval of indelible ink pencil tips, brads, a tooth pick, adsorbent points and even a tomato seed from the root canals of anterior teeth left open for drainage. Toida  have reported a plastic chopstick embedded in an unerupted supernumerary tooth in the premaxillary region of a 12-year-old Japanese boy.
Zillich and Pickens  and Turner  cited cases wherein hat pins and dressmaker pins that were used to remove the food plugs from the root canals of maxillary and mandibular incisors undergoing endodontic treatment had eventually fractured inside the root canals of these teeth. Gelfman  and colleagues reported a case where in a 3-year-old child had inserted two straws into the root canal of a primary central incisor, which was later extracted. Harris  reported the placement of varied objects within the root canals of maxillary anterior teeth. These included pins, wooden toothpick, a pencil tip, plastic objects, toothbrush bristles and crayons. The patients had inserted these objects in the root canal to remove food plugs from the teeth. Placements of beads, a paper clip and a stapler pin in the root canals of maxillary incisors were reported. Lamster and Barenie  reported insertion of a conical metallic object in the distal root of the primary left first molar.
A conventional practice employed during emergency root canal treatment involves leaving the pulp chamber open where pus continues to discharge through the canal and cannot be dried within a reasonable period of time. Weine  recommends that the patient remains in the office with a draining tooth for an hour or even more and finally ending the appointment by sealing the access cavity. With the access cavity closed, no new strains of microorganism system are introduced and food debris and foreign body lodgment within the tooth can be avoided .
A radiograph can be of diagnostic significance especially if the foreign body is radioopaque. McAuliffe  summarized various radiographic methods to be followed to localize a radioopaque foreign object as Parallax views, Vertex occlusal views, Triangulation techniques, Stereo Radiography and Tomography. Vertex occlusal view is no longer favored because of relatively high radiation exposure to the lens of the eye and because the primary beam is aimed towards the abdomen. Triangulation is by the use of two views right angle to one another. Interpretation is difficult because of the superimposition of the other incisor teeth over the root. Stereographic views and tomography were not considered since the availability of the facilities in a dental operatory is very minimal. Specialized radiographic techniques such as radiovisiography, 3D CAT scans can play a pivotal role in localization of these foreign objects inside the root canal.
For retrieval of foreign objects lying in the pulp chamber or canal using ultrasonic instruments  , the Masserann kit  , modified Castroveijo needle holders  have been used. Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid has been suggested as a useful aid in lubricating the canal when attempting to remove the foreign object. The Steglitz forceps have also been described for use of removal of silver points from the root canal. There is a description of an assembly of a disposable injection needle and thin steel wire loop formed by passing the wire through the needle being used. This assembly was used along with a mosquito hemostat to tighten the loop around the object.  Nehme  had recommended the use of operating microscope along with ultrasonic filing to eliminate intra-canal metallic obstructions. Srivastava and Vineeta  have suggested periapical surgery or intentional reimplantation to remove such objects.
McCullock  suggested that access to the foreign object is improved by removal of small amount of tooth structure. According to Walvekar  et al, if the foreign object is snugly bound in the canal, the object may have to be loosened first; it should then be removed with minimal damage to internal tooth structure to prevent perforation of the root.
Complications can follow if these impacted foci of infection are not eliminated at the right time. Actinomycosis following placement of piece of jewelry chain into a maxillary central incisor has been reported by Goldstein. Chronic maxillary sinusitis of dental origin developed due to pushing of foreign bodies into maxillary sinus through the root canals was reported by Costa.
The above case reports discuss the management of teeth with impacted foreign objects in and around the tooth. In the first case the removal of a stapler pin from the palatal root canal was accomplished with a simple technique using commonly used instruments like tapered diamond bur, ultrasonic scaler and a shepherd's hook explorer. In the second case, a chewed stapler pin lodged in the periapical portion of 21 with an immature apex was discovered on radiographic examination of a patient with a complicated crown fracture. Eventually, after the acute periapical symptoms subsided, routine endodontic treatment was completed and the object was retrieved by Apicoectomy. There is a definite need for a proper classification of foreign bodies in and around the teeth and a treatment algorithm to be followed in such clinical situations.
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