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Boy loses 232 extra teeth

Mumbai, July 24: Don Quixote believed every tooth in a man’s head to be more valuable than a diamond.

By that measure Ashik Gavai, 17, from Maharashtra’s backward Amravati district, might be considered a millionaire in a Quixotic world.

But the Class X student was sick to the back teeth with a painful swelling “the size of a golf ball” in his mouth — at the base of a molar on his lower right jaw — for over a year.

Ashik and his impoverished farming family, however, almost dropped their teeth on Monday when dentists at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital discovered the swelling was not a cancerous tumour as they had feared.

It was just an extra set of 232 teeth.

“We hadn’t been able to figure out what it was and decided to go for surgery,” said Sunanda Dhiware, dental head at the hospital.

“As we opened up his mouth, we were shocked to find scores and scores of tiny teeth popping out of that abnormal molar. They were all independently developing as teeth, coming out of that lone molar!”

Dentists call the condition “compound composite odontoma”, a developmental anomaly the hospital had never seen before.

Ashik has not just lost his 232 extra pearlies but four more teeth as collateral damage. The dentists said he may have set a record — they had never heard of a patient having more than 37 odontomes (extra teeth) before.

They are trying to get him and their seven-hour surgery into the Guinness World Records. But the dentists fear that Ashik may have a relapse.

“There may have been some residual (roots) left. In that case, there are chances of those growing back,” said Vandana Thorawade, who was part of the surgical team.

“We’ve told the family that regular check-ups are a must.”