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A cementoma is a type of dental tumor of the cementum, or the calcified root area of the teeth.These tumors are usually painless until the later stages of growth, and typically appear before the mid-20s after the dental roots are fully grown. An untreated or large cementoma can lead to significant tooth or jaw malformation. There are four types of cementoma, including the gigantiform, the cementifying fibroma, the benign and the periapical.
Gigantiform cementomas are extremely rare, but are not cancerous. As their name suggests, they can grow to significant sizes, leading to severe jaw malformation and pain. Surgical intervention is always necessary for these tumors and, since they have no known cause, treatment is complex and often has limited success. Gigantiforms typically affect young adolescents and appear to be more common in African American women, although there is no known reason for such a correlation.
The cementifying fibroma is a rapidly developing tumor of the mouth's fibroblastic tissue. It causes calcified deposits to be laid down around the dental roots. These tumors often affect middle aged men and women, and can lead to irreversible tooth and jaw damage. Early identification of these tumors is key to limiting mouth damage.
Often found in younger patients, the benign cementoma usually grows around the primary molar and affects the mandibular area of the mouth. As the name suggests, these tumors are not cancerous, but can grow and cause dental distortion or pain. This tumor affects the growth portion of the cementum, which is why it is more common in young people whose roots are not fully developed.
Periapical cementomas are the most common types of cementoma. They are far more likely to occur in women and are usually located around the bottom incisor teeth. Such tumors are also the least serious, as they do not tend to grow and usually do not require intervention unless they are pressing on a nerve and causing dental pain. It is unlikely that a periapical tumor will cause jaw or mandibular damage.
Cementomas are usually discovered during routine dental x-rays, as pain from the tumors does not typically occur until significant growth has occurred. Even among qualified dental professionals, they can be difficult to identify and diagnose correctly. X-ray results are often misleading, and small tumors can be difficult to spot, particularly in the back areas of the mouth. Early diagnosis and treatment of these tumors typically leads to very favorable outcomes for patients.