The study, which has been published in the British Dental Journal, revealed that almost 700 sets of dentures were lost in hospitals belonging to 11 trusts in England between 2011 and 2016. It is estimated that nationwide, 9,500 dentures are lost each year at a cost of around £1 million.
Peter Dyer, president of the British Dental Association, said that losing dentures can be incredibly distressing for patients and this study shows just how common it is for patients to lose their dentures whilst in hospital. Patients often lack confidence in their appearance without their dentures and it can also affect their ability to eat and also to communicate with others. The situation is also often made worse by the fact that it tends to take several weeks to replace lost dentures.
In light of the findings, the British Dental Association is calling for hospital trusts to do more to prevent patients from ending up waiting weeks for replacement dentures. Research suggests that the most common cause of lost dentures is patients trying to hide or store them in wrapped-up tissue or cloth, which either gets cleared away or caught up in bed linen or dirty washing. The BDA is encouraging hospital staff to be more aware of the impact of denture loss and to try and take steps to help patients store and look after their dentures safely.