In a freak accident, a 43-year-old woman died after she swallowed her artificial tooth while drinking water.

The woman, identified as S Rajalakshmi, replaced three front teeth with artificial ones nearly seven years ago at a private hospital in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the Times of India reported Wednesday.

On July 4, Rajalakshmi accidentally swallowed one of them. The woman was rushed to a hospital after she felt dizzy and nauseous. Doctors conducted a few tests and determined that there was nothing alarming. She was discharged the same day.

However, the following day, Rajalakshmi fainted and died while on the way to the hospital, according to local media Daily Thanthi, a Google translation showed.

Police registered a case of unnatural death and sent the woman's body for an autopsy.

Oral pathologists said such incidents usually do not result in deaths, the Times of India reported. However, if the denture reaches the air pipe instead of the food pipe, it can be fatal as it could damage tissues in the air pipe, causing bleeding or asphyxiation.

"Usually, acrylic removable dentures are liable to cause more damage when swallowed as they have metal clasps. This aspect is very crucial and can be identified only on autopsy or radiological imaging or previous dental records or from patient’s care providers," said Dr. SM Balaji, an oral surgeon.

Balaji said patients wearing dentures should check with their dentists if there is any loose denture or tooth. If a person has accidentally swallowed it, early identification can help avoid catastrophic outcomes.

In 2019, a team of doctors at a hospital in the southern state of Telangana performed a complex procedure to remove a tooth denture that was accidentally swallowed by a 43-year-old man. Reports said at the time that the man fell down at his workplace and fortuitously swallowed his tooth denture. The denture got stuck in his throat, causing severe pain and difficulty to sallow.

teeth Photo Courtesy of Pixabay