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Surgeons remove 232 teeth from boy's mouth and jaw

Dentists display teeth removed from 17-year-old Ashik Gavai at JJ Hospital in
Dentists display teeth removed from 17-year-old Ashik Gavai at JJ Hospital in AFP

Most children have a set of 20 primary teeth. As adults we typically end up with a set of 32 teeth. But one child in Mumbai has more than that combined and then some.

On Thursday, surgeons in Mumbai removed 232 teeth from the mouth of an Indian teenage boy in what they believe may be a world-record operation.

Ashik Gavai, 17, went to a dentist for help when he was having swelling on the right side of his lower jaw. He was sent to the city's JJ Hospital, where doctors discovered the boy was suffering from a condition known as complex odontoma. Odontomas are benign tumors composed of dental tissue. Most of these lesions are asymptomatic. But some can be complex containing different types of dental tissues.

The website Allhealthsite.com says symptoms of odontoma include, difficulty with swallowing; delayed growth in teeth; lump in the gum; a primary tooth that isn't coming out when it should; enlarged bone under the tooth or jaw.

The head of dentistry at JJ Hospital, Sunanda Dhivare-Palwankar tells the AFP, "We operated on Monday and it took us almost seven hours. We thought it may be a simple surgery but once we opened it there were multiple pearl-like teeth inside the jaw bone.”

Doctors also found an even larger "marble-like" structure which had to be cut out in fragments it was to big to remove as a whole.

The family was concerned the boy had a cancerous tumor in his jaw. The JJ Hospital team says in the historical research they could only find a case where this conditioned showed at the most 37 teeth being removed during this type of surgery. However, in this case the doctor and her team ended up removing a total of 232 teeth from the boy’s mouth.

In the words of the doctor, she says, "I think it could be a world record," she said.

Fortunately, the structure of the boys jawbone was maintained during the operation so it should heal without any deformities.