A Child With an Unusual Retained Oral Foreign Body

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; School of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Emergency Medicine | Pediatrics | Trauma


BACKGROUND: Pediatric foreign-body ingestions are common. Oral foreign bodies are rare but can be life-threatening. Management of their extraction requires knowledge and careful consideration of removal techniques, pharmacology, and potential complications.

CASE REPORT: A 5-year-old boy presented to the emergency department with a wooden block retained in his mouth after a fall. The block was lodged behind the patient's primary central incisors without causing apparent oral or dental trauma. Initial manipulation was unsuccessful given patient apprehension and muscle spasm. The patient was given i.v. diazepam for anxiolysis and muscle relaxation, and a tenaculum was used to extract the object. He was observed for a period of time and had no complications.

WHY SHOULD AN EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN BE AWARE OF THIS?: Retained oral foreign bodies in children require a careful approach and understanding of pharmacologic anxiolysis, as patients may not be candidates for moderate sedation. Emergency physicians must be aware of potential complications of oral foreign bodies, including palatal injury, temporomandibular joint dislocation, epiglottitis, and retained foreign bodies.


anxiolysis, oral foreign body, partial airway obstruction, pediatric trauma, wood foreign body

DOI of Published Version



J Emerg Med. 2018 Nov 1. pii: S0736-4679(18)30965-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2018.09.046. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of emergency medicine

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID