Sometimes there are incredible stories woth retelling, and this is one of them. What started with jaw pain, ended with the removal of 526 teeth for a 7-year old boy from India. In August 2019, he was admitted to a hospital in the southern city of Chennai, India, due to the swelling and pain near his molars. His mother states that he experienced a dull pain and swelling in his jaw since he was two, but her son would not sit still to allow doctors or his even parents to look (1).
After performing an x-ray, doctors discovered a sack embedded in his lower jaw, which was filled with ‘abnormal’ teeth. While the surgery to remove this surplus of teeth took place in July 2019, doctors still needed sufficient time to confirm their very unusual findings.
This boy had a total of 526 teeth removed, which ranged from 0.1 millimeters to 15 millimeters. Even the smallest tooth had a crown, root and enamel coating, which indicated that it was indeed, a tooth!
Compound Composite Odontoma
He is said to be suffering from an extremely rare condition that is known as compound composite odontoma. Odontomas are a form of benign tumor which are made up of dental tissue, often characterized by their slow growth and nonaggressive behavior (2).
Odontomas are considered to be a developmental abnormality, and result from the growth of completely differentiated cells; epithelial (thin tissue forming the outer layer of a body’s surface and other hollow structures), and mesenchymal stem cells (involved in the development of molars and enamel). This combination can lead to odontoblasts. (2)
While the cause is still unclear, it has not been determined as genetic, and it may be related to environmental factors, such as radiation exposure. Local traumas or infections may also cause odontomas.
After the removal of the 526 teeth, the boy was released three days after his surgery and was expected to make a full recovery. While this condition is very rare, the surgery was a success none the less, and he now has a healthy count of 21 teeth.
- “Surgeons Remove More Than 500 Teeth From Boy In India” NPR. August 2nd, 2019.
- “Compound Composite Odontoma and Its Management.” NCBI. Morawala Abdul, et al. December 21, 2014.