Oral surgeons from a hospital in the Indian city of Chennai have removed 526 undeveloped teeth from the lower right jaw of a 7-year-old boy. The pieces of bone and ivory varied in size from a tenth millimeter to one and a half centimeters. According to the doctors concerned, these are so-called rudimentary teeth that a genetic defect caused to grow in a place where it should not.
Ravindranath, the patient, had suffered from his teeth since his third year of life and an increasingly painful growth that developed on the inside of his mouth. His parents found him at first too young and agile for major surgery, but because their son continued to complain about his teeth, they decided to consult a doctor. The family was referred from the Indian town of Tiruvallur to the University Hospital in Chennai.
According to Indian media and the hospital itself, the parents initially thought that it would be a persistent rotten tooth, but a dentist suspected that the cause of the pain would be more serious and sent the boy to the hospital. There, with the help of x-rays and scans, it was determined that there were unexplainable, bone-like structures in the lump of about three by four centimeters. Finally, during a five-hour operation under full anesthesia, the more than five hundred ‘teeth’ were removed.
Research has since shown that the growth in the boy’s mouth was benign. After the procedure, which the family did not have to pay, he had 21 normal teeth left. Ravindranath will remain under control in the coming years to monitor the development of his teeth. This is because there is a chance that greenings will occur at the spot where the tumor was.
The surgeons involved told the Times of India that the number of teeth that were removed is “an absolute record.” Five years ago, 232 teeth were found in a teenager from the city of Mumbai. The doctors at the hospital where Ravindranath was helped speak of ‘a unique find’. “The teeth we found with him looked a bit like pearls in an oyster. Even the smallest specimens had a crown, carrots and even a wafer-thin layer of glaze,” said Dr. Ramani.
Rudimentary body parts, such as the teeth of the Indian boy, are common. These are genetic errors during cell division if a child develops during pregnancy. Cases are known of teeth that were found to be in arms or elsewhere. In most cases, it is a question of harmless growth that can be removed.