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Braces

Swallowing Elastic Band

08/14/2003

Question:

Dear Expert, Yesterday I was unlucky...while eating cherries, I didn`t bother to take off the elastic band (tiny about .5cm in diameter) that I wear on my braces and accidentally I swallowed one without noticing. I have heard a story about a chicken died because it swallows an elastic band which leaves me in fear about my situation. Should I go and see a doctor to have an examine?.. Or will it go out in the feces once the system cannot digest it? Or will it stay in my stomach (or elsewhere) and stuck there forever? I`m getting worry. Hope you could give me a helpful answer. Thank you.

Answer:

Orthodontic elastics are an integral part of orthodontic appliances. The elastics are made from latex rubber and cut into small sizes. When ingested, though not recommended, they would be dissolved by the acidic content of the stomach and pass through the GI tract. There has been no reported incident in the literature of any ill-effects from this occurrence that I could find. It is important to follow the instructions on placing elastics properly and to count the elastics that are removed when time to change them. 

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Response by:

Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS Walter C Buchsieb, DDS, MS
Professor Emeritus - Clinical, Associate of Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University