A 7-year-old boy in India currently has 21 teeth. He used to have a whole lot more—another 526. The odd case began when the boy sought treatment for pain and swelling in his lower right jaw. An X-ray showed a teeth-filled sac, which one surgeon likened to a "balloon with small pieces inside." Dr. Prathiba Ramani, the head of oral and maxillofacial pathology at Saveetha Dental College and Hospital in Chennai, tells CNN that following the July surgery, his team spent more than four hours relieving the 7-ounce sac of its contents and examining what was removed. In a press release, the examining pathologists describe it as "reminiscent of pearls in an oyster."
"Even the smallest piece had a crown, root, and enamel coat indicating it was a tooth," says Ramani, who explains the teeth were as small as .004 inches and as large as 0.6 inches. As for the medical terminology behind the oddity, Ramani calls it "compound composite odontoma," an unusual condition that could have a genetic cause or could be the result of an environmental factor. The release applauds "the surgeons' discretion in removing the lesion in total without exploring it on the operating table (akin to opening a bag of worms)," which "avoided a major mishap and saved the patient from being under general anesthesia for a longer duration." (Read more teeth stories.)