It begs the question, how exactly does something like this happen?
Can 500 teeth even fit in a person’s mouth, not to mention that of a 7-year-old? It turns out, the answer is yes, although it’s not entirely as you might imagine.
No, the boy did not have multiple rows of teeth like a shark, nor were all of his teeth insanely tiny. The 500 teeth were actually located in a large tumor that was growing inside his jaw, hence the lower jaw pain and swelling he was experiencing.
The teeth did not all grow overnight either.
The boy felt the pain in the area for over two years before it finally got bad enough for his parents to take him in to see someone. It’s a common problem in many places in India. Lack of proper medical care and education in rural communities as well as an inability to pay for doctors visits means that many families wait until the last possible minute before deciding to go in to get checked out.
“Earlier, things like not as many dentists, lack of education, poverty meant that there was not as much awareness. These problems are still there,” Dr. P. Senthilnathan told CNN.
“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 doctors did an x-ray of his mouth and that’s when all of the new additions to his mouth were discovered.
They then immediately planned a surgery to remove them.
Ultimately, it took the team around four or five hours to empty the tumor and assess its contents.
One by one, surgeons were forced to painstakingly remove the random teeth, resulting in quite a handful of the little souvenirs for the child to take home. They ranged in size from microscopic all the way up to around half an inch.
“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,” said Dr. Prathiba Ramani.
It’s a story that definitely belongs in the weird news category.
Doctors say the tooth growth resulted from a condition known as compound composite odontoma.
It’s one of only a handful of other similar cases in the history of modern medicine. Because the condition is so rare, not a lot of investigation has been done into its origins, but the current best guess is that it could be a result of environmental factors like exposure to radiation, or that it could potentially have a genetic cause. More research will need to be done to confirm one way or another.
However, in this case, now that the teeth and tumor have been removed, for all intents and purposes, the doctors can officially declare the boy cured. His teeth count is now back to normal and it’s not expected that they will grow back again anytime soon.
Watch the full news video discussing the removal of the 500 teeth from the boy’s mouth below.
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