Noma as a complication of false teeth (Ebiino) extraction
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Background: Ebiino, also known as false tooth extraction, is a traditional practice done mainly in the remote areas of African countries, including Uganda. It involves the extraction of tooth buds in babies with common childhood illnesses such as fever, cough, and diarrhea. It is thought that the tooth buds are responsible for the ailments seen in these infants. The practice is performed by traditional healers using unsterile instruments. The complications associated with this dangerous practice have been mentioned in the literature and include anemia and septicemia, among others. This case report describes a baby with noma, an orofacial gangrenous infection. Case presentation: A 16-month-old girl from western Uganda belonging to the Banyankole ethnic group was admitted to Mbarara University Teaching Hospital with a 5-day history of a dark lesion on the left cheek. The lesion had started from the left upper gum at the site where a tooth bud had been extracted 1 week prior to admission. The child had experienced occasional cough and fever and also had erupting tooth buds. These tooth buds had been seen as the cause of the cough and fever by the traditional herbalist; hence, they were extracted. An unsterile instrument had been used for the procedure. At the hospital, a local examination showed necrotic tissue involving the left cheek and extending into the left upper gingival area of the girl’s mouth. A clinical diagnosis of orofacial gangrene (noma) was then made. Conclusions: Ebiino, or false tooth extraction, is still practiced in some remote areas of Uganda. Noma has been mentioned as a possible complication of this traditional practice; however, case reports in the literature are scant. Public awareness of the dangers of this practice is therefore still required to prevent this dangerous complication.