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April 21, 1945


JAMA. 1945;127(16):1050. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.92860160001007

A distinction, it seems to me, should be made between a bite and a dental injury, either a self-inflicted bite1 or a bite by another person.

Recently a clinical note2 appeared in The Journal reporting a case of actinomycosis secondary to a "human bite." While playing volley ball "the patient sustained the human bite wound. He struck his elbow against another man's front teeth." Hitting any part of one's body against somebody's teeth and sustaining an injury should not be called a bite. Barnes and Bibby3 report a case of knuckle wound incurred by striking a tooth in a fight, and it is correctly called a "human tooth wound." Boland4 says that, "strictly speaking, trauma to the clenched fist is not an actual bite." Boyce5 entitles his paper "Human Bites" but in the text makes a distinction between true bites and tooth wounds.

In my own paper1 figure 4 C is erroneously described as due to biting, while it is a dental injury from pressure in the process of finger sucking.