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Teen Has 232 Fewer Teeth After Rare Procedure

Jul 31, 2014

By Dean George

The Tooth Fairy is going to stay very, very busy if a 17-year-old Indian teenager leaves all the teeth doctors recently removed under his pillow.

On July 21, doctors at India’s Mumbai J.J. Hospital removed a world’s record 232 teeth from the swollen mouth of Ashik Gavai, a 17-year-old student from Buldhana. Ashik had 232 “denticles,” or abnormal teeth growth, jamming up his mouth due to a benign dental tumor known as a complex odontoma.

Odontomas usually form in the upper jaw, but Gavia’s was not a typical dental tumor. According to operating doctor Sudanda Dhiware, the tumor affecting the teen had formed from a molar tooth in his lower right jaw and had produced hundreds of tiny teeth. “I have never seen anything like it in all my years of practice,” she told The Washington Post in a phone interview.

Dhiware said the four doctor surgical team had to use a basic chisel and hammer to open and remove the tumor because they were unable to cut it out during the six-hour procedure.  Once they did, they were amazed at what they found.

“Little pearl-like teeth started coming out, one by one,” Dhiware recalled. “Initially, we were collecting them; they were really like small white pearls. But then we started to get tired.” That’s understandable considering that the most teeth extracted from similar tumors on record were 40 or 50.

The abnormal teeth were not visible from outside Gavia’s mouth because they were tightly embedded in the bone inside his lower right jaw. Doctors believed the denticles started forming when Ashik was six years old. The family reportedly feared cancer during their son’s 18-month ordeal, but when local doctors in their village were unable to treat the prominent jaw swelling a month ago, his parents rushed him to the state-run JJ Hospital in Mumbai.

The surgeon team called the surgery “dangerous” and worked carefully to remove any remaining particles and fragments because if anything was left behind, another odontoma may grow back. If it does, doctors say it is unlikely to contain as many denticles.

Ashik now has the normal 28 teeth (doctors also removed a wisdom tooth), but his jawbone will take three to four months to heal and he is currently limited to a liquid diet of mostly coconut water and milk.

Dentists regularly check for oral health abnormalities and perform oral cancer screenings during routine checkups. If you aren’t getting regular dental checkups because you don’t have dental coverage, we invite you to click here for a free dental plan quote. You can also scroll over the map available in our new dental infographic “Stress and Oral Health” to see the types of dental plans available in your state.

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Copyright 2014, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC

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