Pneumomediastinum and subcutaneous emphysema after dental extraction detected incidentally by regular medical checkup: a case report

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2009 Apr;107(4):e33-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tripleo.2008.12.019. Epub 2009 Feb 8.


Most cases of pneumomediastinum are caused by iatrogenic injury during surgery on the cervical region and chest or by tracheostomy. It is also well known that emphysema may occur secondary to dental treatment using an air turbine drill, but there have been few cases of emphysema extending to involve the mediastinum. Presented is a rare case in which subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum developed asymptomatically, probably due to extraction of a mandibular third molar, and were found incidentally on the day after the dental procedure. To avoid subcutaneous emphysema and pneumomediastinum associated with dental treatment and surgical intraoral procedures such as tooth extraction, air turbine drills should be used only when it is essential.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dental High-Speed Equipment / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidental Findings
  • Mediastinal Emphysema / etiology*
  • Molar, Third / surgery
  • Radiography, Thoracic
  • Subcutaneous Emphysema / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tooth Extraction / instrumentation*