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Missoula teenager loses teeth to exploding e-cigarette - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Missoula teenager loses teeth to exploding e-cigarette

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MISSOULA -

With increasing stigmas surrounding cigarettes, many smokers have replaced their tobacco with electronic cigarettes or vaporizers.  But while e-cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to tobacco, some devices have been known to explode.

Electronic cigarettes have been available since 2004 and there are now hundreds of brands and flavors on the market.  However, with their increased popularity and widespread use, more and more problems are coming to light, not the least of which involves the devices actually exploding. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that 80% of the explosions occurred during charging, but 12% blew up while either in storage or in use. 

A Missoula teenager's e-cigarette recently exploded while he was using it, causing massive damage to his mouth.  A Missoula dentist who saw the aftermath said the trauma was worse than the results of any car accident he had ever seen. 

"The explosion caused him to lose his 4 front teeth, top front teeth, and his lower front teeth are all going to need root canals, because there was just so much damage.  Not only to the teeth, but it also blew out large chunks of jaw bone,” said Dr. Kevin Miltko of Miltko Family Dentistry in Missoula.  “It blew a tooth out, an upper tooth out, and all the way through the mouth, and it took 22 stitches, it was like a bullet hole in the young man's face."

Miltko says he and other Missoula dentists discourage the use of e-cigarettes and vaporizers, warning users of the dangers of exploding devices.

We reached out to several Missoula shops selling e-cigarettes, but were unable to secure an interview. However, they did tell us over the phone that many problems are the result of user error.

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