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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 192-195

Erupting complex odontoma: Report of a rare case

1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Government Dental College, Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Panineeya Mahavidyalaya Institute of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
4 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Peoples' College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Date of Submission30-Jun-2014
Date of Acceptance30-Sep-2014
Date of Web Publication30-Oct-2014

Correspondence Address:
Pinakapani Ramakrishna
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Government Dental College, Rajbandhe Maidan, Raipur, Chhattisgarh - 492 001
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-1363.143700

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Odontomas are the most frequent hamartomatous lesions involving the oral cavity. The complex variant is an agglomerate of all dental tissues characterized by abnormal morphodifferentiation despite normal histodifferentiation. These are usually asymptomatic and are frequently associated with eruption disturbances. We report an unusual case of erupting complex odontoma associated with an impacted maxillary second molar.

Keywords: Complex odontoma, maxillary second molar, panoramic radiograph

How to cite this article:
Ramakrishna P, Chaitanya NC, Yellarthi PK, Saawarn N. Erupting complex odontoma: Report of a rare case . J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2014;26:192-5

How to cite this URL:
Ramakrishna P, Chaitanya NC, Yellarthi PK, Saawarn N. Erupting complex odontoma: Report of a rare case . J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Oct 25];26:192-5. Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2014/26/2/192/143700

   Introduction Top

Odontomas are classified as hamartomatous malformations that are essentially made up of irregular masses of hard and soft tissues of odontogenic origin. Many still consider them as an odontogenic tumors composed of enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp tissue. [1] Although its pathogenesis is debatable, both the ectomesenchymal and epithelial components of the developing tooth bud are present, exhibiting abnormal morphodifferentiation, despite normal histodifferentiation. [2]

The latest classification of the World Health Organization (WHO 2005) has placed odontomas under two types: Complex odontomas and compound odontomas. Odontomas are considered the most common odontogenic lesion, accounting for about 22-67% of all odontogenic tumors. [3] Clinically, they are asymptomatic and slow-growing, seldom reaching more than 3 cm in diameter. [4] A majority of the odontomas in the anterior segment of the jaw are compound odontomas (61%), whereas, the majority in the posterior segment are complex odontomas. [5]

We are presenting an unusual case of a complex odontoma erupting into the oral cavity, associated with an impacted permanent maxillary second molar in a 32-year-old female patient.

   Case Report Top

A 32-year-old female patient reported to the Outpatient Department with a complaint of pain and mild swelling in the right upper back teeth region, since seven months. The patient revealed that the pain was dull in character and was causing occasional discomfort during mastication. The pain subsided by taking analgesics. Her medical and dental histories were noncontributory.

The extraoral examination was unremarkable. Intraorally, her permanent dentition was complete except for a missing right maxillary second molar tooth. Careful examination of this region revealed a well-defined solitary lesion measuring 1 cm in the greatest dimension, both mesiodistally and buccolingually, involving the alveolar ridge. The surface of the lesion had a nodular growth, with areas of inflammation because of trauma from the opposing mandibular tooth [Figure 1]. On palpation, mild tenderness was elicited in the area. The lesion was soft in consistency and showed no tendency to bleed. Gentle probing of the lesion demonstrated an underlying hard (calcified) tooth-colored material that was immobile, and whose dimensions were not recordable. A provisional diagnosis of an impacted right maxillary second molar was made.
Figure 1: Intraoral lesion with missing right maxillary second molar

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Panoramic radiographic examination [Figure 2] revealed a well-defined radiopaque mass involving the region of the right maxillary posterior teeth, posterior to the first molar. The permanent maxillary second molar was impacted. The radiopaque structure was irregular, exhibiting a thin radiolucent zone surrounding it. The internal structure was wholly radiopaque, suggestive of an irregular mass of calcified tissue, except for a radiolucent area at the most posterior aspect of the mass. The degree of radiopacity exceeded that of the adjacent tooth structure. Differential diagnoses that were considered included complex odontoma, cemento-ossifying fibroma, ameloblastic fibro-odontoma, periapical cemental dysplasia, and enostosis.
Figure 2: Cut section of a panoramic radiograph revealing the complex odontoma and an impacted maxillary molar tooth

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The lesion [Figure 3] and the impacted maxillary second molar were surgically excised under local anesthesia, the edges of the bone were smoothened, rinsed with saline, and sutured. The postoperative course was uneventful. The excised specimen was sent for histopathological examination. The histopathological examination revealed disorganized dental tissue constituting irregular dentin masses and multiple hollow circular spaces with pulp tissue and enamel matrix. Sections also revealed proliferating odontogenic epithelium in a scanty stroma [Figure 4]. The above findings were consistent with the diagnosis of a complex odontoma.
Figure 3: Excised complex odontoma

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Figure 4: Histopathological photomicrographs of the complex odontoma

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   Discussion Top

It was Paul Broca in 1867, who first used the term 'Odontoma'. He defined the term as, "a tumor formed by overgrowth of transitory or complete dental tissues". [6] Of late, the WHO has classified odontomas as odontogenic tumors of the odontogenic epithelium with odontogenic mesenchyme with or without hard tissue formation. [7] The WHO classification defines the complex odontoma as, "a malformation in which all the dental tissues are represented, individual tissues being mainly well formed but occurring in a more or less disorderly pattern". [5] At present, three clinical variants of odontomas are recognized - central (intraosseous), peripheral (extraosseous), and erupted odontomas. [8] The erupted odontoma is an intraosseous odontoma that erupts into the oral cavity, [9] whereas, the peripheral one occurs only in the soft tissue covering the tooth-bearing portion of the jaw. [10]

The etiology of the odontoma is unknown. Theories proposed include infection, local trauma, familial history, hereditary anomalies, odontoblastic hyperactivity, and molecular events responsible for controlling tooth development. [11],[12]

Clinically, odontomas are asymptomatic. They are usually associated with retention of deciduous teeth, noneruption of permanent teeth, occasional pain, mild expansion of the cortical bone, and tooth displacement. [13] Pain and swelling are the most common symptoms when odontomas are erupting or have just erupted. Our patient had also presented with similar signs and symptoms. Odontomas do not show any gender predilection and are usually detected in the second decade of life. [14] Although complex odontomas tend to occur more in the posterior regions of the mandible, they can occur in other regions of the jaw. [15]

The radiological findings of odontoma depend on the stage of development and degree of mineralization. The initial stages are characterized by radiolucency, because of the absence of calcification. The intermediate stage has a mixed radiopaque and radiolucent appearance, whereas, the last stage appears predominantly radiopaque, and is surrounded by a radiolucent rim corresponding to the connective tissue, histologically. The presence of thin sclerotic margins adjacent to the radiolucent rim resembles the corticated border seen in a normal tooth crypt. [14]

On the basis of the presenting clinical features and radiographic findings in our patient, a diagnosis of complex odontoma was made. They differ from cemento-ossifying fibromas, as they are more radiopaque and have a tendency to associate with unerupted molar teeth. Odontomas occur more among younger patients as compared to cemento-ossifying fibromas. Although periapical cemental dysplasia might resemble the complex odontoma, they are usually multiple and centered on the periapical region of the teeth. In addition, the periphery of cemental dysplasia usually has a wider uneven sclerotic border. Differentiating ameloblastic fibro-odontoma (AFO) from a developing odontoma might be difficult, but generally these tumors have a greater soft tissue component (radiolucency) than the odontoma. A complex odontoma usually has a mass of disorganized tissue in its center, whereas, the AFO usually has multiple, scattered, mature, and small pieces of dental hard tissue. Also, the AFO occurs in older individuals as compared to the complex odontoma. Regions of enostosis, although radiopaque, do not have a soft tissue capsule, as seen in odontomas. [16]

Conservative surgical enucleation is by and large the most sought after treatment of choice, as odontomas are rarely seen as being large, and no cases of recurrence have been reported. [17] In the present case, the lesion was totally and carefully removed without causing damage to the adjacent structures. About 70% of the odontomas, if left untreated, are associated with pathological changes such as - impaction, malpositioning, aplasia, malformation, and devitalization of the adjacent teeth. [17] An unusual case of sellar compound odontoma that induced hypophysis disruption, and therefore, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and growth retardation in a nine-year-old child, has also been reported. [17]

In conclusion, odontomas are common hamartomatous lesions occurring mostly in the second decade of life with no gender predilection. Clinically, they are often asymptomatic, might cause occasional pain and swelling, and rarely facial asymmetry. Most often they are the reason for impacted, malpositioned, aplasia, malformation, and devitalization of adjacent teeth. Thus, an oral diagnostician should keep odontomas as a priority in their differential diagnoses in the above-mentioned clinical situations.

   References Top

McKinney AL. The development of a compound odontoma. ASDC J Dent Child 1984;51:146-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Philipsen HP, Reichart PA, Praetorius F. Mixed odontogenic tumors and odontomas. Considerations on interrelationship. Review of literature and presentation of 134 new cases of odontomas. Oral Oncol 1997;33:86-99.  Back to cited text no. 2
Amado Cuesta S, Gargallo Albiol J, Berini Aytés L, Gay Escoda C. Review of 61 cases of odontoma. Presentation of an erupted complex odontoma. Med Oral 2003;8:366-73.  Back to cited text no. 3
Hidalgo-Sánchez O, Leco-Berrocal MI, Martínez-González JM. Meta-analysis of the epidemiology and clinincal manifestations of odontomas. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2008;13:E730-4.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ali Azhar D, Kota MZ, El-Nagdy S. An unusual erupted complex composite odontoma: A rare case. Case Rep Dent 2013;2013:106019.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kaur GA, Sivapathasundharam B, Berkovitz BK, Radhakrishnan RA. An erupted odontoma associated with pigmentation: A histogenetic and histological perspective. Indian J Dent Res 2012;23:699.  Back to cited text no. 6
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
Kramer IR, Pindborg JJ, Shear M. The WHO histological typing of odontogenic tumors. A commentary on the second edition. Cancer 1992;70:2988-94.  Back to cited text no. 7
Junquera L, de Vicente JC, Roig P, Olay S, Rodríguez-Recio O. Intraosseous odontoma erupted into the oral cavity: An unusual pathology. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2005;10:248-51.  Back to cited text no. 8
Ragalli CC, Ferreria JL, Blasco F. Large erupting complex odontoma. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2000;29:373-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
Ide F, Shimoyama T, Horie N. Gingival peripheral odontoma in an adult: Case report. J Periodontol 2000;71:830-2.  Back to cited text no. 10
Serio FG, Levy BA. Erupted compound odontoma. Review and report of case. Ann Dent 1987;46:41-2, 45.  Back to cited text no. 11
Hitchin AD. The aetiology of the calcified composite odontomes. Br Dent J 1971;130:475-82.  Back to cited text no. 12
Vengal M, Arora H, Ghosh S, Pai KM. Large erupting complex odontoma: A case report. J Can Dent Assoc 2007;73:169-73.  Back to cited text no. 13
Seo-Young An, Chang-Hyeon An, Karp-Shik Choi. Odontoma: A retrospective study of 73 cases. Imaging Sci Dent 2012;42:77-81.  Back to cited text no. 14
Kodali RM, Venkat Suresh B, Ramanjaneya Raju P, Vora SK. An unusual complex odontoma. J Maxillofac Oral Surg 2010;9:314-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
White SC, Pharoah MJ. Oral Radiology: Principals and Interpretation. 6 th ed. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book Inc; 2008. p. 378-80.  Back to cited text no. 16
Spini PH, Spini TH, Servato JP, Faria PR, Cardoso SV, Loyola AM. Giant complex odontoma of the anterior mandible: Report of case with long follow up. Braz Dent J 2012;23:597-600.  Back to cited text no. 17


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


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