When doctors in India opened up a tumor in a teenager’s lower jaw on Monday, something unexpected happened. "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," 17-year-old Ashik Gavai’s doctor tells the BBC. At one point, they also took a chisel and hammer to remove fragments of a "marble-like" structure in the boy’s jaw, the Telegraph reports. The surgery took seven hours and a four-person medical team in a Mumbai hospital. Turns out Gavai, from a village in western India, had a complex composite odontoma—basically a benign tumor. It usually forms in the upper jaw and causes the gums to make lots of teeth, and it could’ve damaged Gavai’s jaw bone, the Mumbai Mirror reports.
Gavai’s 18-month saga had become a cancer scare for his parents, who took him to Mumbai when the village doctors couldn’t figure out what was causing swelling in the right side of his jaw. A month ago the swelling caused severe pain, and that’s when his parents feared the worst. Now that Gavai is back to having the normal 28 teeth, he’s not out of the woods. Doctors say the condition could come back, especially if a tooth or fragment was left behind. Gavai’s case may be a record—the most teeth taken out of such a tumor was previously 37, the doctor says. Next stop: Doctors will apply for the Guinness Book of World Records. (This woman had an 88-pound tumor removed after she noticed she'd been gaining weight.)