Mumbai - Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation, the BBC News has reported. Ashik Gavai was brought in with a swelling in his right jaw, Dr Sunanda Dhiware, head of Mumabi’s JJ Hospital’s dental department, told the BBC. The teenager had been suffering for 18 months and travelled to the city from his village after local doctors failed to identify the cause of the problem. Doctors have described his condition as ‘very rare’ and ‘a world record’.
‘Small white pearls’
‘Ashik’s malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It’s a sort of benign tumour,’ Dr Dhiware said. ‘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,’ she added. The surgery, conducted on Monday, involved two surgeons and two assistants. Ashik now has 28 teeth.
Describing Ashik’s case as ‘very rare’, Dr Dhiware said she had ‘not seen anything like this before in my 30-year career’, but said she was ‘thrilled to get such an exciting case’. ‘According to medical literature available on the condition, it is known to affect the upper jaw and a maximum of 37 teeth have been extracted from the tumour in the past. But in Ashik’s case, the tumour was found deep in the lower jaw and it had hundreds of teeth.’
Further to this, a rock-like formation was also discovered inside the affected tooth, which had to be removed by a dentist’s drill. “We had to resort to the age-old, now outdated, ‘chisel-mallet’ procedure to break down that hard formation as it was putting immense pressures on the jaw bone and surrounding healthy teeth,” explained Dr Dhivare-Palwankar.
Ashik’s father Suresh Gavai was quoted by the Mumbai Mirror as saying that his son complained of severe pain a month ago. ‘I was worried that it may turn out to be cancer so I brought him to Mumbai,’ he said.
Dr Dhivare-Palwankar described the condition as a ‘developmental anomaly’, known in the medical profession as a ‘Complex Composite Odonntom’ or a benign tumour of the tooth. The condition causes difficulty in eating, swallowing and can lead to the swelling of the face but it is not life threatening. The entire surgery lasted over seven hours. “We believe this is a world record, but we will carry out more research before taking any further steps in the matter,” said Dr Dhivare-Palwankar.