Home  -  About us  -  Editorial board  -  Search  -  Ahead of print  -  Current issue  -  Archives  -  Instructions  -  Subscribe  -  Contacts  -  Advertise - Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 127-130

Odontome, cyst, impacted tooth, and space infection in a single patient: All-in-one diagnostic dilemma

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication12-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lakshmi Shetty
E303, Sterling 1, Mahindra Royale Society, Pimpri, Pune - 411 018, Maharashtra
Login to access the Email id

DOI: 10.4103/ams.ams_211_17

PMID: 29963439

Rights and Permissions

This case report analyzes the clinical and radiographic features of odontogenic infection with underlying pathology. Systematic approach leads to narrow the differential diagnosis on the basis of exclusion. This results in correct diagnosis, proper treatment, and avoiding unnecessary treatment. This case report highlighted an unusual case of odontogenic infection involving adjacent fascial spaces with underlying pathology which was mimicking a cyst, tumor, and odontome. Systematic approach helped us achieve accurate diagnosis, treatment, and avoiding complications.

Keywords: Cyst, odontogenic infection, odontoma, tumor

How to cite this article:
Shetty L, Gangwani K, Kulkarni D, Londhe U. Odontome, cyst, impacted tooth, and space infection in a single patient: All-in-one diagnostic dilemma. Ann Maxillofac Surg 2018;8:127-30

How to cite this URL:
Shetty L, Gangwani K, Kulkarni D, Londhe U. Odontome, cyst, impacted tooth, and space infection in a single patient: All-in-one diagnostic dilemma. Ann Maxillofac Surg [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Jun 1];8:127-30. Available from:

  Introduction Top

The important step in successful therapeutic management of a patient with disease in the oral and maxillofacial region depends on creating a differential diagnosis.[1]

Clinical differential diagnosis is the cognitive process of applying logic and knowledge in a series of step-by-step decisions to create a list of possible diagnosis. Differential diagnosis should be approached on the basis of exclusion to narrow the diagnosis. A thorough inspection of the oral cavity should be a part of clinical examination.[2]

Oral tissue biopsy may be necessary for lesions that cannot be diagnosed on the basis of the history and clinical findings alone and also some additional information can be gained to guide any indicated surgical procedure.[3] Oral and maxillofacial surgery deals with various pathologies in the facial region. It poses dilemma in diagnosis if it arises altogether. There is no evidence in literature of simultaneous presentation of pathology, fascial space infection, and dentoalveolar impaction in a single patient. Systematic approach is needed to diagnose it correctly and for proper surgical management.

We present an interesting case which had possibilities of multiple pathologies in one. Systematic approach helped us diagnose it correctly and helped in proper surgical management.

  Case Report Top

A 16-year-old female patient reported to the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth's Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, with a chief complaint of pain, swelling in the right side of face for 5 days and inability to open the mouth for 2 days [Figure 1]. The patient was apparently alright 5 days back when she felt pain in the right side of lower jaw. Pain gradually increased in severity and swelling was noticed. Initially, swelling was small, which gradually increased and attained present size (dumbbell shaped 6 cm × 3 cm). Mouth opening was restricted.
Figure 1: Restricted mouth opening

Click here to view

On clinical examination, on the right side, swelling in the cheek and temporal region was palpated. Anteroposteriorly, extending from the commissure of lip till the angle of the mandible and Superoinferiorly, extending from the temporal fossa region till the lower border of mandible. Swelling had typical dumbbell-shaped appearance due to interposition of zygomatic arch. Swelling was hard, tender, and nonfluctuant. Mouth opening was restricted to 8 mm.

On the basis of clinical findings, provisional diagnosis of right buccal, submassetric, and superficial temporal space infection was made.

Radiological investigations revealed a radiolucent lesion with radiopaque mass in the right posterior region of the mandible [Figure 2]. First mandibular molar of the right side was impacted with resorption of roots. This radiographic picture was mimicking various pathological lesions. Based on clinical and radiologic examination, a differential diagnosis of dentigerous cyst, calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor, keratinizing cystic odontogenic tumor, unicystic ameloblastoma, complex odontome, and impacted mandibular first molar of the right side was considered.
Figure 2: Preoperative orthopantomography showing a multitude of pathologies

Click here to view


In the first phase, incision and drainage of abscess after empirical antibiotic therapy was done under conscious sedation [Figure 3] and [Figure 4].
Figure 3: Incision and drainage under sedation

Click here to view
Figure 4: Placement of corrugated drain postdrainage

Click here to view

In the second phase, calcified lesion along with soft tissue lining and impacted molar was removed under general anesthesia [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7]. Histopathological report showed the evidence of complex odontome associated with dentigerous cyst posterior to the odontome [Figure 8].
Figure 5: Exposure of the underlying pathology

Click here to view
Figure 6: Exposure of impacted tooth

Click here to view
Figure 7: Specimen excised

Click here to view
Figure 8: Histopathological examination suggestive of complex odontome

Click here to view

Final diagnosis was made as buccal, superficial temporal, and submassetric space infection due to complex odontome with impacted mandibular first molar of the right side with resorption of roots.

  Discussion Top

Complex odontoma is most prevalent in the dental field superceded in frequency only by compound odontoma.[4] These nonaggressive hamartomatous malformations consist of mixed lesions with epithelial and mesenchymal tissues, which show differentiation into odontogenic tissues such as enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp. Two types of odontomas recognized are compound and complex composite. Compound odontomas consist of encapsulated, discrete, small tooth-like structures or denticles in a fibrous connective tissue stroma, mostly located in the anterior maxilla. Complex odontomas on the other hand consist of an irregular mixture or mass of mature hard and soft dental tissues, which has no resemblance to teeth.

Despite their unknown etiology, odontomas are usually discovered during the second and third decades of life as an incidental finding as they are asymptomatic. Sometimes, it may present as bone expansion, pain, and tooth displacement or show association of unerupted normal teeth. Intraoral radiographs usually show well-defined borders of a similar density of calcified dental tissue, having a ground-glass appearance, and a radiopaque mass occupying the affected region, surrounded by a thin radiolucent halo. Although they are usually tooth-sized or smaller, the complex variant can occasionally exhibit considerable size and can attain diameter up to 6 cm.

Odontogenic infections are known to involve various adjacent fascial spaces.[5] Infection from mandibular molars may spread to primary spaces such as buccal space and submandibular space, and further, it can spread to secondary spaces such as superficial temporal space and pterygomandibular space.[6] Clinical diagnosis and treatment of these lesions are not always simple, due to anatomical complexity and sometimes involvement of multiple pathologies.[7]

The patient reported with swelling in the right side of face with trismus. This was suggestive of buccal, superficial temporal, and masticator space involvement.[8] Intraorally, mandibular molars of right side were missing. Radiographically, though all types of pathologies were suspected as mentioned in the differential diagnosis, it was looking like odontome rather than any other pathological entity. As it was a case of infected odontome with impacted mandibular molar, we had systematic approach to treat the case. In the first phase, incision and drainage of abscess was done, and in the second phase, lesion was surgically removed, avoiding the overtreatment unnecessarily.

There were missing mandibular molars on the right side of the arch which was not considered significant by the guardians signifying negligence of their part. The patient reported to us only because of the space infection and swelling. We also emphasize the need of routine periodic dental checkup. This would have been detected the lesion in early stage and prevented the unnecessary patient's morbidity.

  Conclusion Top

Odontoma is a common incidental finding when radiographic evaluation is performed and should be carefully analyzed. Kaugars et al. found that roughly half of all odontomas block the eruption of a tooth. Another reason for removing odontomas is their association with the dentigerous cysts in significant number of cases (27.6%).[8]

Odontogenic infection with underlying pathology is difficult to differentiate from one another.[9] Most of the lesions are benign, but some are locally aggressive with high recurrence rate. Clinical examination, extent and location of the lesion, and its radiographic features help the surgeon achieve accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.[10] Conservative surgical management may be an option to reduce recurrence and morbidity and increase the probability of uneventful secondary healing and bone regeneration.[11],[12]

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form the patient(s) has/have given his/her/their consent for his/her/their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ikeshima A, Tamura Y. Differential diagnosis between dentigerous cyst and benign tumor with an embedded tooth. J Oral Sci 2002;44:13-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Vargas CM, Arevalo O. How dental care can preserve and improve oral health. Dent Clin North Am 2009;53:399-420.  Back to cited text no. 2
Daley TD, Wysocki GP, Pringle GA. Relative incidence of odontogenic tumors and oral and jaw cysts in a Canadian population. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1994;77:276-80.  Back to cited text no. 3
Reichart PA, Philipsen HP. Complex odontoma. Odontogenic Tumors and Allied Lesions. New Delhi: Quintessence Publishing Co.; 2005. P. 141-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Coller FA, Valk WL. The fascial spaces of the neck in acute infection. Am J Surg 1939;46:500-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
Ohshima A, Ariji Y, Goto M, Izumi M, Naitoh M, Kurita K, et al. Anatomical considerations for the spread of odontogenic infection originating from the pericoronitis of impacted mandibular third molar: Computed tomographic analyses. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2004;98:589-97.  Back to cited text no. 6
Bratton TA, Jackson DC, Nkungula-Howlett T, Williams CW, Bennett CR. Management of complex multi-space odontogenic infections. J Tenn Dent Assoc 2002;82:39-47.  Back to cited text no. 7
Wanjari SP, Tekade SA, Parwani RN, Managutti SA. Dentigerous cyst associated with multiple complex composite odontomas. Contemp Clin Dent 2011;2:215-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Fernandes T, Lobo JC, Castro R, Oliveira MI, Som PM. Anatomy and pathology of the masticator space. Insights Imaging 2013;4:605-16.  Back to cited text no. 9
Troeltzsch M, Lohse N, Moser N, Kauffmann P, Cordesmeyer R, Aung T, et al. Areview of pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment options, and differential diagnosis of odontogenic infections: A rather mundane pathology? Quintessence Int 2015;46:351-61.  Back to cited text no. 10
Kumar V. Conservative surgical approach to aggressive benign odontogenic neoplasm: A report of three cases. J Korean Assoc Oral Maxillofac Surg 2015;41:37-42.  Back to cited text no. 11
Deboni MC, Brozoski MA, Traina AA, Acay RR, Naclério-Homem Mda G. Surgical management of dentigerous cyst and keratocystic odontogenic tumor in children: A conservative approach and 7-year follow-up. J Appl Oral Sci 2012;20:282-5.  Back to cited text no. 12


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
  Case Report
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded188    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal