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A 7-year-old boy in India arrived at a dental school hospital with a swollen jaw. Days later, he left with 526 fewer teeth, so to speak.

Surgeons at Saveetha Dental College in Chennai uncovered a “bag-like” growth inside the boy’s lower right jaw. And within that growth, they found something that surprised even them, they say: hundreds of tooth-like structures 1 to 15 millimeters in size.

photo of 326 teeth

Hundreds of tooth-like structures were inside the growth.

“It was reminiscent of pearls in an oyster,” a specialist who helped treat the boy says in a news release from Saveetha, which didn’t give the child’s name.

The boy’s surgeons say the tooth-filled growth they removed was a compound odontoma. That’s a type of tumor that isn’t cancer. Experts aren’t sure what causes it, but they think an injury, infection, or genes are a few things that might play roles.

photo of teeth extraction

Surgeons removed the boy’s tumor.

Compound odontomas tend to show up before you’re 20 years old, often growing within the upper jaw. Many don’t bring on symptoms, but some can cause swelling and pain or shift nearby teeth.

The boy in India had a large odontoma that made his lower jaw swell. It didn’t happen overnight. When his parents first noticed a bit of swelling 4 years ago, they took him to a hospital, Saveetha Dental College says in its news release. But the swelling slowly got worse until Saveetha diagnosed him, the release says.

News reports say his surgery went well. And videos posted online show the 7-year-old smiling in a loved one’s arms.

Feature Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on August 06, 2019



News release, Saveetha Dental College.

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: “Compound odontoma – diagnosis and treatment: three case reports.”

National Science Foundation: “Scientists discover fossil tumor in 255 million-year-old mammal forerunner.”

Contemporary Clinical Dentistry: “Compound odontoma.”

Annals of Medical & Health Sciences Research: “Compound Odontoma in Deciduous Dentition.”

Mayo Clinic: “Jaw tumors and cysts.”

Case Reports in Dentistry: “Surgical Management of Compound Odontoma Associated with Unerupted Tooth.”

BMJ Case Reports: “A complex odontoma of the anterior maxilla associated with an erupting canine.”

Journal of Advanced Clinical & Research Insights: “Compound odontoma causing impaction of permanent maxillary incisors with associated ghost cell keratinization: A case report.”

CBS Miami: “WEB EXTRA: 526 Teeth Removed From Mouth.”

Oshida TV: “Doctors Extract 526 Teeth From 7-Year-Old’s Mouth!”

CNN: “Doctors find 526 teeth in boy’s mouth in India.”