In a remarkable feat challenging conventional biological norms, Kalpana Balan, an Indian woman, has secured a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for possessing a total of 38 teeth, surpassing the typical adult count of 32.
Balan, who faced challenges in her childhood due to supernumerary teeth, has now embraced her unique dental configuration, making her the female record holder, with the male counterpart being Evano Mellone, a Canadian boasting 41 teeth.
Balan’s extraordinary dental composition includes four additional mandibular teeth in her lower jaw and a couple of extra maxillary teeth in her upper jaw. The genesis of these additional teeth began during her teenage years, causing initial difficulties in eating solid foods due to their unusual alignment. Despite experiencing no pain during their growth, parts of food items would get lodged between the supernumerary teeth.
Upon discovering the extra teeth, Balan’s parents expressed concern and urged her to seek removal. However, consulting with a dentist, she was advised to allow the teeth to grow further before considering extraction, as removing the smaller ones would be challenging and painful. Opting against immediate removal, Balan decided to retain the supernumerary teeth, a choice that has now culminated in her Guinness World Records achievement.
Polydontia or hyperdontia is the medical term for having additional teeth, affecting approximately 3.8 percent of the global population. The condition is attributed to a malfunction in the tooth-formation process, often stemming from extra tooth buds close to ordinary buds or the breaking of a regular tooth bud.
Genetic disorders such as cleft lip, Fabry disease, Gardner syndrome, and cleidocranial dysostosis can also contribute to hyperdontia. Balan’s unique dental configuration, once a childhood challenge, has become a source of pride, marking a lifetime achievement and earning her a coveted place in the Guinness World Records.