If you’ve ever gone through the torment of having teeth removed, spare a thought for this kid who had over 500 teeth extracted from his jaw.
The 7-year-old boy was brought to Saveetha Dental College and Hospital in the south Indian city of Chennai by his parents with complaints of a jaw ache. His parents took him to another hospital when he was 3 years old but as he was so young he would not co-operate with doctors when they tried to investigate the minor swelling. However, with the swelling and pain starting to mount, his parents decided to take him to the hospital once more.
After X-rays revealed something was amiss, doctors decided to investigate further. Surgery revealed the boy’s lower jaw contained a “well-defined bag-like mass” containing 526 teeth.
“It was reminiscent of pearls in an oyster,” the pathologist remarked, according to a press release.
In total, the removed teeth weighed about 200 grams. They varied in size, from 1 to 15 millimeters, but each was complete with a crown covered by enamel and a root-like structure.
Remarkably, the boy wasn’t in as much pain as you might expect from such an ailment. Three days after the operation, he left the hospital with a mere 21 teeth and is said to be recovering well.
“Surgery was inevitable. Instead of breaking open the bone from the side and leaving a large hole, we drilled into it from the top," Dr Senthilnathan, head of the hospital's department of oral and maxillofacial surgery, told The Times Of India. "Luckily, he did not require any reconstruction of the jaw. There was a sac with tiny teeth that had to be carefully removed so that they didn’t chip and break away. His healthy teeth were left behind.”
His unusual condition was a result of compound composite odontoma, an extremely rare form of tumor that results in the growth of multiple dental tissues and tooth-like structures. Although they can be hard to treat, they are typically benign and not cancerous. In the case, it’s uncertain whether the condition developed as a result of genetic factors, the boy’s environment, or a mixture of both.
Despite their rarity, compound composite odontomas are not totally unheard of. In 2014, doctors extracted 232 teeth, once again in India, from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy following a seven-hour operation.