Doctors found and removed a staggering 526 teeth from the mouth of a 7-year-old boy who had been complaining of jaw pain.
The young boy was admitted to a hospital in the southern city of Chennai in India last month because of swelling and pain near his molars in the right side of his lower jaw.
Dr. Prathiba Ramani, the head of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, told CNN doctors scanned and x-rayed the young boy’s mouth and found a sac embedded in his lower jaw which was filled with ‘abnormal teeth’.
The youngster underwent an operation with two surgeons to have the sac removed from his mouth, after which Ramani’s team took around four to five hours to empty it and confirm its contents, discovering hundreds of teeth.
Dr. P. Senthilnathan, head of the hospital’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Department and one of two surgeons who operated on the boy, described the procedure:
Under general anesthesia, we drilled into the jaw from the top. We did not break the bone from the sides, meaning reconstruction surgery was not required. The sac was removed. You can think of it as a kind of balloon with small pieces inside.
Doctors have since spent time individually examining each individual tooth.
Speaking of the baffling case, Dr. Ramani said:
There were a total of 526 teeth ranging from 0.1 millimeters (.004 inches) to 15 millimeters (0.6 inches). Even the smallest piece had a crown, root and enamel coat indicating it was a tooth.
According to the doctor, the 7-year-old was suffering from a very rare condition called compound composite odontoma. The US National Library of Medicine describes odontomas as ‘odontogenic benign tumors composed of dental tissue’.
The website continues:
[In] the compound odontomas… the dental tissues are normal, arranged in an orderly pattern, but their size and conformation are altered, giving rise to multiple small teeth like elements called odontoids or denticles.
Dr. Ramani said the cause of the condition is unclear but explained it could be genetic or it could be due to environmental factors like radiation.
Though the extra teeth were only just discovered, it’s possible the young boy had them for a long time. His parents reportedly told doctors they had noticed swelling in his jaw when he was as young as three years old but the youngster would not stay still or allow doctors to examine him, meaning they couldn’t take a good look at the cause of the swelling.
Dr. Senthilnathan pointed out the discovery showed the importance of seeking treatment for dental issues as early as possible.
Earlier, things like not as many dentists, lack of education, poverty meant that there was not as much awareness. These problems are still there.
You can see people in cities have better awareness but people who are in rural areas are not as educated or able to afford good dental health.
The 7-year-old now has a healthy count of 21 teeth. According to the NHS most children have a full set of 20 milk teeth by 3 years old and when they reach five or six the teeth start to fall out, making way for a set of 32 adult teeth.
The young boy was released from hospital three days after surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.