Case report: management of broken dental needles in practice

Abstract

Breakage of a dental needle is a rare but significant complication of local anaesthetic injections, which causes great anxiety for the patient and dental surgeon, and necessitates investigations and further treatment. It may have important medico-legal considerations. We describe a case where a dental needle broke during the routine administration of an inferior alveolar nerve block for a dental procedure. This broken needle subsequently migrated to the lateral aspect of the neck, confirming that these ‘migrations’ do occur. We discuss the various causes, and clinical and dento-legal implications, as well asmethods of treatment.

Journal of the Irish Dental Association 2013; 59 (5): 241-245

Dr Naomi Rahman
BA BDentSc FFD RCSI DCh Dent (OS)
Specialist Oral Surgeon, c/o Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin

Dr Mary Clarke
FDS RCPS FFD RCSI MDentCh (OS)
Oral Surgeon/Lecturer in Conscious Sedation, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin

Professor Leo FA Stassen
FRCS FDSRCS MA FTCD FFSEM (UK) FFDRCSI
Professor/Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, National Maxillofacial Unit, St James’s Hospital, Dublin

Corresponding author: Leo F.A. Stassen
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Oral Medicine, Dublin Dental School and Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, National Maxillofacial Unit, St James’s Hospital, Dublin
T: +353 1 410 3860
E: stassen@tcd.ie