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South African Dental Journal

versão On-line ISSN 0375-1562
versão impressa ISSN 0011-8516


MABONGO, M  e  SUKHA, K. Isolated palatal injury due to a bicycle accident. S. Afr. dent. j. [online]. 2018, vol.73, n.9, pp.560-562. ISSN 0375-1562.

Trauma to the soft palate due to impalement of a bicycle handlebar does not appear to have been reported in the literature. More commonly the trauma occurs in toddlers due to impalement with objects such as pencils. We report an atypical presentation of an 11 year old with a significantly lacerated soft palate suffered when he fell off a bicycle. The child's mouth must have been open when he fell, which allowed the handlebar to injure the soft palate without causing damage to his teeth. A clinical evaluation and advanced radiographic images revealed significant impairment of the musculature of the soft palate. Treatment was performed under general anaesthesia and involved correct placement and suturing of these anatomical structures, which were ectopically displaced. Good oral hygiene was prescribed, including the use of a chlorhexidine based oral rinse. The patient's recovery was uneventful with almost complete healing within three weeks. It is clear that bicycle safety needs more emphasis in South Africa. Apart from the use of safety devices such as helmets and mouth guards, there may be a need for legislation to be amended to enhance safe accommodation on the roads for cyclists.

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