Doctors remove 526 Teeth from 7-year-old child

Pictorial representation. Photo credit: DH

A seven-year-old boy was taken to Saveetha Dental College and Hospital by his parents with a complaint of a swelling in the jaw.

He was taken to a nearby hospital at the age of 3 when the parents noticed a small swelling at the right lower jaw, but he refused to co-operate for any investigative procedure as he was very young. Hence the swelling was left undiagnosed for four years.

He was taken to the institution as the swelling was slowly increasing in size. The apprehensive parents thought it could be a cancer of the jaw. The initial workup by the surgeons revealed a large lesion with multiple hard structures at a single site within the lower jaw.

During the surgery, the operating surgeon noticed a well-defined bag like mass which was removed in its entirety. The specimen was radiographed which revealed multiple tiny radiopaque structures. On further evaluation by the oral pathologists, and to their utmost surprise the bag revealed 526 tooth-like structures.

In the pathologists’ own words, “it was reminiscent of pearls in an oyster”. It took 5 hours of meticulous searching to remove all the minute teeth from the opened bag like a specimen. “This pandora box of miniature teeth is a jewel on our crown,” said the postgraduates. This is the first-ever case to be documented worldwide, where so many minute teeth were found in a single individual. This rare lesion is termed as “compound composite odontome”.

According to a press release from the hospital, 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. 

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