Hi everyone!

baby-brain-xrayAccording to the February 27th issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a four-month old child underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor.   At four months old, he is the youngest person to have had teeth removed from a tumor in his brain.

The rare, benign brain tumor called craniopharyngioma grows near the pituitary gland to the size of a golf ball.   Fortunately, the tumor is well encapsulated and does not spread, and the baby is expected to make a full recovery.  Doctors from the University of Maryland Medical Center hope that studying this it can help them uncover how these rare brain tumors develop.

Tale of Two Tumors

As rare as teeth formations in the human brain might seem, this isn’t the first time that teeth have been found in people’s brains.  What makes this case so unusual is that most teeth have been found in tumors called Teratomas.  Teratomas can have many different types of early-stage embryonic tissue and are present at birth.  Unbelievably it’s not uncommon for this type of tumor to contain hair, teeth, bone or other tissues!

Researchers know very little about craniopharyngiomas.  What they do know that is that these tumors contain calcium deposits.  They also suspected that craniopharyngiomas form from the same cells that develop teeth.  But until now, doctors have never actually seen teeth in this type of tumor before.

Upon first examination, the child’s head appeared to be growing much faster than normal for a child his age.   With a brain scan, doctors got their first clue to the type of tumor it was, and that it contained formations that looked eerily similar to teeth found in the lower jaw.

Teeth Found in Unusual Places

Scientific abnormalities have existed since the beginning of time.  Often left untreated, and for the most part unexplained, people didn’t survive rare conditions.  In the modern era, advancements in surgical technologies and research allow patients to overcome the odds.

Let’s consider the recent discovery made by Spanish archeologists.  Somewhere near Lleida, Spain, a skeleton of a roman woman was unearthed whose pelvis contained a tumor with four embedded teeth.  The condition is known as ovarian teratoma, and by all accounts they are simply benign tumors.  According to the archeologists, the remains indicate she died 1600 years ago and was in her 30s.  This is the first known teratoma found in the ancient world.

In more recent times, twenty-three-year-old Nagabhushanam Siva, a young woman from India was shocked when doctors found two full-formed teeth embedded in the tumor located in her eye. Siva had the tumor since birth.  As the teeth grew, the tumor began to swell fully obscuring her vision.  The tumor had not spread and so was successfully removed.

In another unusual case, a young man named Doug Pritchard felt a sharp pain in his foot for several weeks before making an appointment with his doctor. Upon examination, physicians found a tooth growing in his left foot.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that when he learned of his condition, Pritchard replied saying “My father said “No wonder I wasn’t able to keep shoes on him because his feet kept eating them up!”

No one would deny that frequent dental checkups will keep your mouth at its healthiest. Our team at Dr. Mark Langberg, DDS, MAGD, PC, will monitor any issues with your gums and teeth to keep your smile and health in optimum shape.  Our highly skilled and friendly staff will put you at ease and we highly recommend that you visit us every six months.  Our office is state of the art, comfortable and relaxed.   Call us at 248-356-8790 today, and find out what truly committed and compassionate dental care can do for you and your family.  Discover the difference a great dentist can make!

Until Next Time,

Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD
Your Southfield Family Dentist
Tel: (248) 356-8790