Dentists in Mumbai successfully removed 232 pearl-like teeth from the mouth of Ashik Gavai, a teenager living in a small Indian village. Ashik is now the world record holder for having the most teeth in one mouth.
According to BBC News, Mr. Gavai first noticed a pain in his lower jaw about 18 months ago. His cheek started to become swollen and it was clear he had a serious dental condition. No one in the countryside could figure out the problem, so his father brought him to the city of Mumbai, fearing that it was cancer. Doctors finally gave them a correct diagnosis.
The teenager suffered from complex composite odontoma, or a benign tumor of the mouth, where a single gum could produce many teeth. In this case, it produced hundreds. Dentists described the condition as very rare, the first they’d ever seen. They undertook a six-hour operation and removed the tumor and all 232 teeth from Ashik.
Dr Sunanda Dhiware, chief of the dental department in Mumbai’s JJ hospital, described the operation:
“At first, we couldn’t cut it out so we had to use the basic chisel and hammer to take it out. Once we opened it, little pearl-like teeth started coming out, one-by-one. Initially, we were collecting them, they were really like small white pearls. But then we started to get tired. We counted 232 teeth.”
Many of the teeth formed in clumps, and it was possible that the tumor would have continued to grow. In most cases, composite odontoma is not fatal, although it does create difficulty eating and swallowing, as well as disfiguring swelling. In Ashik’s case, however, the tumor could have grown to the point where his lower jaw would break, potentially causing infection and permanent damage.
Dr Vandana Thorawade, another one of the oral surgeons, described the tenuous situation:
“We had the jaw plates and screws ready in case of emergency. But miraculously, his jaw was intact. Had he waited for longer, there were chances that his jaw bone would have been damaged.”
After the successful surgery, Ashik now has a normal 28 teeth and no swelling.
The dentists added that although they had done everything possible to remove all of the tumor, there was still a chance of bits and pieces remaining. In which case, the tumor could regrow, so Ashik will have to make regular dentists visits for some time before he’s completely in the clear.
Ashik’s 232 teeth dwarf the previous records. Before, in another case of composite odontoma, 37 teeth were removed from the upper jaw.
[Image Credit: BBC News]