Compound odontoma can feel like a scary diagnosis, but it is a fully treatable growth. Your dentist can sometimes pick up these tumours during your routine dental X-rays, and lots of them do not cause any harm. Here we will give you more information on what these growths are, the different types that can develop, and what treatment options are available to you.
What Are Odontomas?
Odontomas are noncancerous oral tumours. Luckily, they are rare, and they do not spread or cause further harm. These abnormal growths replicate surrounding tissues in the mouth that comprise teeth, such as enamel, dentin, and pulp tissues. They grow slowly, but in some rare cases, they can erupt into the oral cavity.
Odontomas are the most common type of odontogenic tumour. They can occur at any age but they are much more likely to occur in young adults, between the ages of 14 and 18 years. Odontomas usually develop in the upper jaw and are slightly more common in females. The cause of odontomas is still unknown, but they have been associated with trauma, infection and childhood inflammatory processes affecting the jaws. People with certain genetic conditions, such as Gardner syndrome and Hermann’s syndrome, seem to be more prone to odontomas. In 80% of odontoma cases, the tooth associated with the odontoma is impacted, i.e., it hasn’t erupted from the gums.
Types of odontoma
There are complex and compound odontomas.
A complex odontoma has a mixed, disorganised structure of a tissue mass. On the other hand, compound odontomas often have a tooth-like structure and are arranged in a uniform manner – similar to a normal tooth. They are twice as common as complex odontomas, and they often appear as a collection of small teeth on a dental X-ray. There have also been cases where patients have had multiple compound odontomas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Dentists can usually diagnose odontomas by examining X-rays of a patient’s jaw. Although the growths are benign, dentists may advise some treatment with minor surgery for comfort, rather than necessity. Tumours that are surgically removed will not usually reoccur. Simply monitoring the development of an odontoma might be a viable option if a patient is not experiencing any symptoms and the tumour is not stopping the teeth from forming into the correct position.
Your dentist, in combination with other specialists, will always advise and guide you on your treatment options and ensure you are in safe hands.
An odontomas diagnosis can be scary but remember, a tumour doesn’t always mean cancer, and treatment is not always required. Seeing your dentist regularly will make sure that your teeth and gums are checked for health, but that your head and neck are also examined, This is why regular checkups, as well as regular dental X-rays, are incredibly important for good oral and overall health.
If you have noticed anything unusual or if anything about any aspect of your care is causing you concern, please seek advice from one of the team.