European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 359–362 | Cite as

A foreign body in disguise

  • R. LeithEmail author
  • A. C. O’Connell
Case Report



Young children habitually place objects in their mouths to discover and learn about the world and it is considered a normal stage of early childhood development. Ingestion and aspiration of foreign objects predominantly occurs in preschool toddlers with a peak incidence at age three years, and can have serious consequences.

Case report

A 2-year-old boy presented to the Dublin Dental University Hospital with a tooth-coloured mass tightly adherent to a lower primary incisor. The lesion surrounded the cervical third of the crown on the lower right primary central incisor and extended subgingivally. The tooth was mobile but with minimal inflammation.


The tooth was subsequently extracted under general anaesthesia to reveal that the mass was in fact a foreign body, although this was originally thought unlikely as a cause.


The patient underwent an unremarkable recovery.


The case of a foreign body disguised as a tooth-like abnormality was only identified under general anaesthesia, and even then it was impossible to prise the object from the tooth in situ. Misdiagnosis of impacted foreign bodies in young children presents complicated diagnostic problems.


Foreign body Primary tooth 


  1. Adeyemo WL. Foreign body impaction aided by thumb-sucking in the palate of an infant. J Craniofac Surg. 2012;23(4):1227–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aduri R, Reddy RE, Kiran K. Foreign objects in teeth: retrieval and management. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2009;27(3):179–83.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Muharraqi MA. Unusual foreign object in the palate of an infant-more fingernails! J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010;68(7):1701–2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cheng W, Tam PK. Foreign-body ingestion in children: experience with 1,265 cases. J Pediatr Surg. 1999;34(10):1472–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Göktas O, Snidero S, Jahnke V, Passali D, Gregori D. Foreign body aspiration in children: field report of a German hospital. Pediatr Int. 2010;52(1):100–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gujjar KR, Algali G, Omar SM, Amith HV, Anegundi RT. Foreign bodies in primary molars: a report of 2 cases. J Dent Child (Chic). 2012;79(1):40–3.Google Scholar
  7. Hampton R, Wong J, Singh M. Lego of that. Br Dent J. 2012;212(3):105.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Holla G, Baliga S, Yeluri R, Munshi AK. Unusual objects in the root canal of deciduous teeth: a report of two cases. Contemp Clin Dent. 2010;1(4):246–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Koch G, Poulsen S. Paediatric dentistry—a clinical approach. In Kock G and Poulsen S, editors. Mental development of the child, Chapter 3. 1st ed. Copenhagen: Munksgaard; 2001, pp 35–41.Google Scholar
  10. Lehl G. Foreign body in a deciduous incisor: a radiological revelation. J Indian Soc Pedod Prev Dent. 2010;28(1):45–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Leith R, Fleming P, Redehan S, Doherty P. Aspiration of an avulsed primary incisor: a case report. Dent Traumatol. 2008;24(5):e24–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lin YT, Huang YL, Chang SH, Hong HH. Sequelae of iatrogenic periodontal destruction associated with elastics and permanent incisors: literature review and report of 3 cases. Pediatr Dent. 2011;33(7):516–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. McAuliffe N, Drage NA, Hunter B. Staple diet: a foreign body in a tooth. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2005;15(6):468–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Passi S, Sharma N. Unusual foreign bodies in the orofacial region. Case Rep Dent. 2012;2012:191873.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Rocha AC, Bernabé DG, Amato Filho G, Guimarães J Jr, Machado GG. Foreign body in the hard palate of children and risk of misdiagnosis: report of 3 cases. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2009;67(4):899–902.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. van As AB, du Toit N, Wallis L et al. The South African experience with ingestion injury in children. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2003;67(Suppl 1):S175–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Younessi OJ, Alcaino EA. Impalement injuries of the oral cavity in children: a case report and survey of the literature. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2007;17(1):66–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Zilberman Y, Shteyer A, Azaz B. Iatrogenic exfoliation of teeth by the incorrect use of orthodontic elastic bands. J Am Dent Assoc. 1976;93(1):89–93.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Public and Child Dental Health, Trinity College DublinDublin Dental University HospitalDublin 2Ireland

Personalised recommendations