Dentists at a hospital in Chennai, India, were shocked to find over 520 teeth growing in the mouth of a seven-year-old boy who occasionally complained of toothaches.
7-year-old P. Ravindran was taken to Saveetha Dental College and Hospital in Chennai to have a swelling on his lower right jaw looked at. Dentists ordered an X-Ray and CT-Scan, which revealed that the abscess-like swelling was actually a sac full of what looked like hundreds of teeth of various sizes. The growth, known as compound composite odontoma, is a benign tumour composed of dental tissue, but this was a particularly large one, made up of a total of 526 teeth.
“We have never seen these many teeth in any one site,” Pratibha Ramani, a professor and Head of Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, told the Times of India. “The teeth were in different sizes that varied between 0.1 mm to 15 mm. They looked like pearls in an oyster. Even the smallest piece had a crown, root and an enamel coating like a real tooth.”
Doctors determined that the odontoma prevented permanent molar teeth growth in the boy on the affected side and that the only viable solution was the removal of the growth through surgery. Ravindran’s parents initially agreed to have the surgery, but the boy took hours to convince. The procedure required general anaesthesia and lasted about an hour and a half. Doctors ended up extracting a total of 526 teeth from the sac-like tumour. Luckily, the boy did not require jaw reconstruction.
“Though the cause of the condition is not known, genetics could be one of the reasons,” Dr. Ramani said. “The environment could also play an important role. We have taken up a study to see if radiation from mobile phone towers is a factor in such conditions.”
The Times of India cites an interesting study that looked at 250 people living near mobile phone towers and found that at least 10% of them had micronuclei changes in their cells. This can cause controlled or uncontrolled multiplication of cells and diseases. Dr. Ramani said that a larger study may be necessary to confirm the link between nuclei changes and mobile phone towers.