Dental Apparatus

Dental apparatus, i.e. dentures, braces, bridges, etc. serve as locations for sequestration of small particles of food which become saturated with alcohol. During forced expiration, the alcohol or the particles themselves can become dislodged, contaminating the breath specimen.

The manufacturer of evidentiary breath testing equipment recommends that dental apparatus be removed prior to evidentiary breath testing. Hansueli Ryser, Vice President of Drager Safety Diagnostics, Inc., indicates, in an e-mail dated July 26, 2009 that dental apparatus should be removed prior to the beginning of the observation period.

Contamination of the breath specimen produces to an erroneous elevation on evidentiary breath testing. It is important to note that it would take only a minuté amount of alcohol to cause an elevation on evidentiary breath testing. This is due to the fact that the machine multiplies the amount of alcohol that it receives 2100 times due to the 1 to 2100 blood to breath ratio.

An example of this from the literature can be found in the article by D.J.H. Tafford and H.L.J. Makin, Department of Chemical Pathology The London Hospital Medical College, Breath-Alcohol Concentration May Not Always Reflect the Concentration of Alcohol in Blood, The Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 18, July/August 1994.


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