Karachi has not reported a rare case of ectopic pregnancy in teeth

Viral post was shared as a joke on a Russian website in 2018

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Claim: An image of an x-ray of a set of teeth with a baby-like figure visible in the gum area is circulating on social media with the claim that a rare case of ectopic pregnancy in teeth has been reported at Karachi’s Carevian International Hospital.

Fact: The image was posted as a joke by a Russian dental website in 2018. An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb. While such pregnancies do occur, the egg usually implants in one of the fallopian tubes, and if not, the ovary, cervix or abdomen. Additionally, there is no hospital called the Carevian International Hospital in Karachi.

On 26 April 2022, Facebook page ‘Medical Student Diaries’ posted an x-ray image of a set of teeth with a small baby-like figure visible in the gum area. The post, which received more than 11,000 reactions and was shared over 2,600 times, featured the following text:

“A rare case of ectopic pregnancy in teeth, reported in Carevian International Hospital, Karachi.”

In a couple of Facebook posts, some commenters realised it was a joke but many took this post at face value.

Fact or fiction?

Soch Fact Check used Google Reverse Image Search and TinEye Reverse Image Search to investigate the source of the image.

Google identified “профессиональный юмор про стоматологов [professional humour about dentists]” as a related search and turned up a post from Russian Pinterest, with a Russian caption that translated into English reads, “Photo Once Upon a Time in Dentistry – You’re Having a Boy! (2818) from the album Humor in the style of demotivators in the photo gallery section on the dental portal (website) ‘Club of Dentists’.”

We found that the Russian professional dental portal ‘Stomatolog Club’, or Club of Dentists, posted the image as a joke on its website on 12 November 2018. The same image is available on its Instagram account @stomatologclub and Facebook page @stomatologclub.ru.

The image, part of a larger visual, is accompanied by a joke written in Russian as follows: “Однажды в стоматологИИ «У вас будет мальчик!» [Once upon a time in dentistry, ‘You will have a boy!’”

It has also been shared as a joke previously on Facebook here and here.

Soch Fact Check spoke with Dr Maira Najam Siddiqui, a doctor at Chiniot Mother and Child Care Hospital in Karachi, who explained that ectopic pregnancy is “pregnancy outside the main cavity of the uterus”.

“That means if the conception occurs outside the uterus and the fertilised egg is implanted outside the cavity of the uterus in the nearby cavity, such as the abdominal cavity, we would call it ectopic pregnancy. The likelihood of implantation in fallopian tubes is still more than in the abdominal cavity; hence, it is impossible that the fertilised egg goes all the way and gets implanted in the oral cavity,” Dr Siddiqui explained.

In response to a question as to whether ectopic pregnancy can occur in teeth, she said, “The conception can’t occur in the oral cavity, not even [if] you’re using not-so-conventional methods of sex. Because conception is dependent on multiple factors; take the pH value, for instance, the pH of saliva is 6.2-7.6 while the pH of the vagina is a little more acidic; hence, it’s not a suitable environment to keep the sperms viable.”

The doctor firmly rejected the claim that the picture shows a rare case of ectopic pregnancy in teeth. “Since ectopic pregnancy can grow up to a few centimetres and this is the image of the fully-formed foetus, [it’s] safe to say it’s photoshopped [doctored],” she confirmed.

Soch Fact Check also checked the websites of the UK National Health Service (NHS), American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and Planned Parenthood.

The NHS describes an ectopic pregnancy as “when a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes”, while the ACOG states that it “occurs when a fertilised egg grows outside of the uterus”. Planned Parenthood explains that it “is when a pregnancy grows outside of your uterus, usually in your fallopian tube”.

As further evidence that the claim in the post is false, Soch Fact Check confirmed that there is no hospital in Karachi called the Carevian International Hospital.

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the three-day period from 25-28 April 2020 using the following search term:

  • “rare case ectopic pregnancy teeth Carevian International Hospital Karachi”

The analysis turned up 16,259 interactions across six posts on Facebook. A search using Facebook’s in-app graphic search bar showed that the image appeared here, here, here, here, here, and here.

On Twitter, five tweets turned up; @ihirarafique (the most viral one), @Arslan1019, @rehan_tajak, @Apheliouss, and @aliyanhun.

Conclusion: The image of an x-ray of a set of teeth with a baby-like figure visible in the gum area does not depict a rare case of ectopic pregnancy in teeth found at Karachi’s Carevian International Hospital. The image was posted as a joke by a Russian dental website in 2018. Ectopic pregnancies are when fertilised eggs implant outside the womb, but it is impossible for this implantation to take place near the teeth. There is also no hospital named the Carevian International Hospital in Karachi.

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