A British woman was left traumatized after part of a drill was lodged into her tooth after it snapped off during a routine root canal procedure two years ago. The metal piece is still latched onto her jaw.
Alison Southwood, 44, of Warwickshire, is calling it a “race against time” to get the metal piece out. If kept too long, she says the metal “could cause a toxic reaction.”
“It's an absolutely terrifying thought,” she told the Daily Mail.
Southwood has seen some of the best dentists in the country, but none have been willing to remove the metal from her jaw for fear of causing permanent loss of sensation down the side of her face, the Daily Mail reports.
The woman went to Genix Healthcare in Cirencester for a root canal surgery in March 2013.
She said she remembers the moment the drill snapped and knew something was wrong right away.
“A hush descended on the room and the dentist and dental nurse exchanged worried glances,” Southwood recounted. “They legged it out the room for a private discussion.
“I was just left to lie there and wonder how they were going to break the news to me," she added.
The dentist eventually told Southwood what happened. They said the metal piece from the drill was lodged too far down into her jaw bone to retrieve. They told her all they could do was fill the hole and send her home.
“I was in shock, just going through the motions so I could get out of there as soon as possible,” she said.“They said they weren't sure what to do next and I told them they'd better figure it out.
“I was totally dumfounded that I was just sent on my way with the drill still lodged in my jaw," she continued.
Two years later, the metal piece is still in her jaw. Specialists told Southwood it’s too close to the nerve to get out.
To make matters worse, Southwood’s tooth was left to rot and she now has to have it extracted.
“I went to the dentist for routine root canal surgery,” she said, according to Huffington Post UK. “I can't believe how much stress and misery has been caused by what should have been a simple operation.”
After a 16-month legal battle, $8,600 in damages was awarded to Southwood.
“I'm not a litigious person, but the settlement money was necessary to cover my treatment costs,” said Southwood, who currently has a temporary filling while she awaits her replacement tooth to be fitted.
“I know it'll be painful but hopefully it'll help put this nightmare behind me," she said.
“I'm still appalled that I was told they usually just hope patients don't notice when this kind of thing happens," Southwood added. “I wonder how many people are walking round (sic) with no idea they have metal lodged in their mouths.
“Whatever happens, I know I'll never be able to get back in the dentist's chair for another root canal treatment," she concluded.
Southwood hopes that surgeons will be able to finally remove the metal piece from the drill from her jaw when they remove the tooth.
A spokesperson for Genix Healthcare issued the following statement:
We are totally committed to ensuring the safety of our patients and the high quality of dental treatment and care provided. We strive to make sure all patients know and understand the potential risk of any dental procedure they undertake and we enforce vigorous quality assurance protocols to minimise this risk as much as possible. We take any patient concerns very seriously – we strive to resolve any issues in a timely and amicable manner on the rare occasions that they arise.
Photo Credit: Daily Mail, WikiCommons