A 30-year-old man in China recently went to the doctor with a severe case of a blocked nose. Unexpectedly, his stuffiness was not caused by a bad infection, instead, medics found a tooth lodged up his nostril. Bizarrely, the tooth had been there for 20 years, Pear Video reports.
At the age of 10, Zhang Binsheng fell from the third floor of a mall, losing two teeth in the process. One tooth was recovered, while the other was lost, but no one was overly worried about where it might have gone. After all, they weren’t expecting it to be wedged up Zhang’s nose.
According to local media, Zhang was struggling to sleep and could smell a strange decaying odor. An X-ray revealed a shadow inside his nose, which on closer inspection turned out to be a tooth. The 1-centimeter (0.4-inch) gnasher was removed during a short 30-minute surgery and Zhang is reportedly recovering well. The procedure was carried out by doctors at the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Harbin Medical University in Heilongjiang province in northeast China.
Despite being rare this phenomenon, known as an intranasal retained tooth, does occur in between 0.1 and 1 percent of the population. Earlier this year a man visited doctors in Denmark with complaints of a persistent runny nose, blockage, and a reduced sense of smell. The 59-year-old was also found to have a misplaced tooth growing in his nose.
Like Zhang, the man in question had suffered a trauma to his face when he was a child, resulting in a broken nose that had to be repositioned. However, his doctors reported in BMJ Case Reports that it's not clear whether the trauma caused the abnormality, noting that he probably had the tooth growing in his nose most of his life.
A nasal tooth isn’t only caused by facial trauma. It can also be the result of an infection or developmental abnormalities like a cleft lip.
Nevertheless, other cases of trauma-induced intranasal teeth have occurred. In 2014, doctors described a 5-year-old child who suffered a facial trauma causing a tooth bud – a piece of tissue destined to develop into a tooth – to get lost somewhat. Nobody realized that it had ended up in his nose and it erupted into a tooth a year later. Another case report from 2003 described a 12-year-old boy who fell to the ground during a seizure and ended up with the root of a tooth wedged in his nasal cavity.
An intranasal tooth can easily be diagnosed via imaging and surgically removed, meaning that those affected have a good prognosis. Once the scent of decay clears from their nostrils, that is.