What To Do With A Swallowed Crown

More often than most people would like to imagine, a crown can come off and can be ingested by the patient. Although this may seem like the beginning of some TV show about medical oddities and anomalies, this happens often enough that you cannot really call it anomalous. Natural teeth are swallowed all the time, which is no problem (heck it may even be good for you, all that calcium and fluoride), and as crowns have to be in the same place that natural teeth are in, when they become undone, they get swallowed too, and there is not much to do by way of prevention either, except try to not swallow your crown. However there is a protocol in place for what to do if this happens to you. 

1. Don’t panic!

The most important thing to do is keep calm; you will not die or be harmed if you follow these simple instructions. If your mind is clouded by fear you may do something rash and make the situation a whole lot worse than it already is. 

2. Book an appointment!

Make no mistake, even if the crown won’t do any damage (which they usually do not), it is better to be safe than sorry. Go to a gastroenterologist, and explain the situation, ask for an x-ray. Know that you are probably in no immediate danger, but there is no way to tell, and a crown or parts of a crown can cause some serious obstruction, and can get caught in a fold or turn of the intestine as well, and if this happens, you can have an infection, and you may even experience bleeding. The problem is, none of this will be felt, as the intestines do not have nerves or nerve endings in them at all, and thus cannot respond with pain or even feeling.

3. Check your stool

Yes it is okay to relieve your bowels afterwards, but the unattractive task of checking your stool to see if your crown is in there will remain, and you will have to do this in order to get your crown back. The crown can potentially cause damage on the way out, but near the end of the colon there are nerve endings and you will feel it if your crown scratches up your colon or rectum, and you will see bleeding if any of the lower intestine is cut or scratched. That is why you need to check to see that nothing is damaged, if it is, go to the emergency room immediately, even if you feel fine. The crown can still be salvaged, and if it is not broken, you may be able to have it be put back (after being completely disinfected, of course). 

image: 1.