Mumbai: That’s really a mouthful. This teenaged boy could bite, but barely chew thanks to his many, many, many teeth – 232 to be precise.
Ashik Gavai, 17, from Buldhana, stunned doctors at Sir J.J. Hospital 10 days ago when he came with an ugly large swelling on the right side of his face.
A series of tests and examinations suggested a rare abnormal growth affecting the second molar on the lower right side of his jaw.
“Initially, it was not very clear what it could be and so we decided to go in for surgery yesterday (Monday),” said Sunanda Dhivare-Palwankar, head of the hospital’s dental department.
As the surgery progressed, the team of medicos was aghast to see scores and scores of tiny teeth popping out of that abnormal molar, which was measuring around 3.5X2 cm, or the size of a large marble.
“At the final count, we had a total of 232 small pearlies, all independently developing as teeth, coming out of that lone molar!” Dhivare-Palwankar said.
Besides, there was another hard, rock-like formation inside the affected tooth in Ashik’s mouth which could not be removed by a dentist’s drill.
“However, as he came from a very poor family, they could not afford the luxury of expensive dental procedures. Since the growth continued unabated, they came to this government hospital,” Dhivare-Palwankar said.
The boy was found eligible for medical expenses under the Maharashtra government’s mega-health insurance scheme for the poor – Rajiv Gandhi Jeevdayi Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) – introduced last year.
Gavai’s entire surgery as well as a fortnight’s hospitalization and medical expenses were covered under RGJAY – in a private hospital, it would have cost over Rs.200,000, beyond his family’s meagre means.
The medical team found that despite the huge molar tooth growth, the jawbone had thinned but not weakened, and the surgeons straightened out the crushed wisdom teeth that were in the formative stage.
“Now, his face has changed and he will lead an absolutely normal healthy life after ejecting so many teeth,” Dhivare-Palwankar said.