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What is Ameloblastoma?

Many ameloblastomas are first discovered through routine dental x-rays.
An MRI may be used to help diagnose ameloblastoma.
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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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Ameloblastoma is a condition where a tumor, usually benign, affects the jaw, typically where the third molar would be located. It can also affect the sinuses and tissues around the eye sockets. Ameloblastomas are formed from the cells that create the enamel of teeth. Unfortunately, once an ameloblastoma is removed, reoccurrence is likely. Opposite to what most people would expect, calcified tissue is not formed inside the ameloblastoma tumor, making it a softer tumor – similar to an organ.

Only one percent of tumors in the mouth region are ameloblastomas. In fact, it has been termed a “rare” disease by the National Institute of Health (NIH) because it affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States. It affects both men and women in equal numbers. Children as young as 21 months have been reported to have the condition; however, most cases that are reported indicated that the individuals are in their 30s and 40s. The tumors are usually very aggressive – and most of the time they are discovered through a routine dental x-ray.

Since it is important to correctly diagnose an ameloblastoma, several different techniques may be used both for diagnosis and for determining its severity. Imaging studies are often done. These include x-rays of the head, neck, and jaw; CT scans to see the organs and tissues of the head or neck, and MRI scans for detailed images of the head and neck, including the sinuses and tissue around the eye sockets.

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Treatment for ameloblastomas usually requires surgery. A specialist will typically be called on to perform the procedure. A biopsy may be completed to verify whether the tumor is indeed benign. In some cases, radiation or chemotherapy may be necessary to remove an ameloblastoma, specifically if the tumor cannot be fully removed by surgical methods, if it is malignant, if surgery will leave an individual’s face cosmetically imperfect, or if it will cause the individual to lose function.

The tumors sometimes cause the teeth to rise out of the gums. They can also cause facial deformities, especially along the jaw or sinus areas. As a result, plastic surgery or reconstructive surgery may be necessary to restore the cosmetic appearance of the person’s face. Again, a specialist should be consulted to complete the plastic surgery.

Finding a support group, reading any reliable information, and asking the doctor pointed questions are the best ways to understand and know how to handle ameloblastomas. Although it is uncommon, finding others who have undergone treatment are often the best sources of information. Luckily, there are few complications that arise from the condition itself. In most cases, a repeat of the treatment is the only complication, if the tumor reappears.

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anon290761
Post 2

Is ameloblastoma is curable or not? What is the exact treatment? In Mumbai, which hospital and doctor can be contacted?

anon127003
Post 1

How long will it take to bone graft after the ameloblastoma is removed from a 14 year old boy?

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