Odontoma: Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Causes, Treatment and Research

It is a specific type of tumor that is benign and that is found in the mouth. It is made of all or some of the tissues that make up your teeth.

However, these tissues may or may not be arranged in the form of a tooth. It may not be visible to the naked eye.

It is a mass of enamel, dentine, pulp and cement that usually grows at the same rate as the teeth. However, this mass is disorganized and any of the components can become the dominant part.

The odontoma is found more frequently in people around 14 years old as a tooth that has not emerged. The most complex odontoma is found in men up to the age of 30. Although the most recent data indicate that these tumors are found in both sexes.

Types of odontoma

There are two general types of odontoma, some are more serious than others: common odontoma and complex odontoma. These are defined in more detail by specific components. They are described in part by their location and origin:

  • Ameloblástico.
  • Compound.
  • Radicular.
  • Temporal.


There are many symptoms of odontoma, but they are often overlooked or misdiagnosed. One that is serious is the difficulty in swallowing ( dysphagia ).

If a tooth is delayed when it must be erupting, that is another sign that something is not right. If you have a lump in the gum, it could be a symptom of odontoma. Some may be confused initially with an impacted wisdom tooth.

You could also have a primary tooth that does not come out as it should. Also, if the bone under your tooth enlarges, your dentist will notice it as a possible sign of odontoma.

These are some of the reasons why you need to maintain a good connection with your dentist. In this way, the dentist becomes familiar with his teeth and his oral affections.

Diagnosis of the odontoma

The odontoma usually shows no external symptoms. These tumors are revealed when the X-rays are examined by the dentist. While it is true that a delayed tooth or an absent tooth may suggest the need for a more detailed examination.

The presence of a tumor of dental origin requires further examination to determine what type of tumor it is before further measures are taken. In addition, the histological diagnosis of the extracted tissue provides valuable information to the dentist.

Histology and causes

No one really knows why an odontoma is formed. The most likely reasons are trauma and / or infection at the site. Some dentists and researchers believe that they are hereditary or that they develop because of genetic mutations.

An example of a hereditary syndrome is known as Gardener’s syndrome . It is responsible for a wide range of tumors in the body, including the occasional odontoma. When examined at the cellular level, all dental tissues are found, but in an abnormal combination.

The pulp, dentin, enamel and cement sometimes look like a tooth-like structure in a compound odontoma. These denticles are found in a layer of supporting fibrous cells that surround them. Since it is decalcified, enamel is seen as spaces around tiny dental structures.

Looking more closely, you can see the material as a solid mass or as multiple, small, tooth-like bodies visible by X-rays. Because it is easily separated from its bony location, it can be distinguished from other possible tumors.

A complex odontoma does not have a specific sequence for all dental tissue. It does not look like normal tooth structure. At the cellular level, it appears as mainly tubular dentine that encloses hollow spaces.

These circular spaces are decalcified but once they had enamel. At the edges there may be a thin layer of cement that forms a capsule like tissue surrounding the mass.

Computed tomography findings for the odontoma

The CT findings refer to the images found by X-ray enhanced by computed tomography (a layered view). These advanced technology images help the dentist see what’s inside the tumor before undergoing surgery to remove it.

Each one is unique in the formation and each disposition of the dental tissue can determine what type of structure it has. Sometimes, a complex odontoma can extend into the nasal cavity and require special attention.

It is important to perform a complete examination beyond a simple x-ray to obtain this additional information. It is sometimes recommended to obtain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to obtain a complete analysis of a complex mass.

Treatment of the odontoma

The only real treatment for these dental tumors is removal by surgery. An early discovery and treatment will be beneficial for the patient.

It is a benign tumor made of dental tissue and is a fairly simple extraction in most cases. In general, a rapid recovery is expected. Some complex tumors can cause complications after extraction. Therefore, it is essential to keep in touch with your surgeon.


How often are each of these dental anomalies? Which are more common? After reviewing 104 cases, 67 were identified as compounds and 32 were diagnosed as complexes. It is rare to find both types or multiple odontomas. Only 5 of these cases were found in this study.