Doctors found 526 miniature teeth in the mouth of a 7-year-old boy who was brought to a hospital complaining of pain in his jaw.
Doctors in Chennai, India, have found 526 teeth in the mouth of a 7-year-old boy who was brought to a hospital with complaints of jaw pain. The boy was admitted to Saveetha Dental College and Hospital in Chennai because of swelling and pain near the molars in his lower right jaw, reports CNN. A scan and x-ray of the boy's mouth revealed something bizarre — doctors found a sac embedded in the boy's lower jaw filled with "abnormal teeth," according to Dr. Prathiba Ramani, the head of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at the hospital.
The sac weighed 200 grams, according to ABC news, and contained 526 "tooth-like structures" varying in size from 1mm to 15mm. Surgery to remove the sac took place last month, but doctors took time to examine each tooth before presenting their findings. Ramani's team spent four to five hours after the surgery emptying the sac and individually examining each tooth. "Even the smallest piece had a crown, root and enamel coat indicating it was a tooth," explained Ramani. According to a statement released by the hospital, the 7-year-old suffered from a condition called compound odontome. "This is the first ever case to be documented worldwide, where so many minute teeth were found in a single individual," the statement reads, according to ABC news, "The surgeons' discretion in removing the lesion in total without exploring it on the operating table [akin to opening a bag of worms] avoided a major mishap and saved the patient from being under general anesthesia for a longer duration and the attendant complications."
Ramani told CNN that the cause of the condition is unclear, but it could be genetic, or it could be caused by environmental factors like radiation. Dr. P. Senthilnathan, one of the surgeons who operated on the boy, explained the delicate procedure. "Under general anesthesia, we drilled into the jaw from the top," he said. "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." According to Ramani, the boy may have had the extra teeth for a while - his parents told doctors that they had noticed swelling in his jaw when he was a mere 3 years old, but he would not allow doctors to examine him at the time.
Dr. Senthilnathan told CNN that the discovery highlighted the importance of seeking early treatment for dental issues. "Earlier, things like not as many dentists, lack of education, poverty meant that there was not as much awareness. These problems are still there," he said. "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 boy in question was released three days after the surgery with a healthy count of 21 teeth. He is expected to make a full recovery.