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Recently, a 17-year-old teenage boy named Nitish Kumar from Bihar's Arrah district had undergone surgery for three hours due to a rare tumour in his mouth called complex odontoma. He has been suffering from the condition for the past five years and it was recently, he arrived at Patna's Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences for treatment when his condition has become severe.
Earlier in 2019, Chennai doctors have extracted 526 teeth from a 7-year-old boy due to compound composite odontoma. There are many other such cases of odontoma which have been diagnosed previously.
In this article, we will discuss odontoma and its types, causes, treatments and other details.
What Is Odontoma?
Odontome is a term used for any tumour and/or tumour-like lesions that arise from tooth forming tissues. Odontoma is a hamartoma or say, local malformation made up of an abnormal mixture of dental cells and tissue.
It is created as a result of terminated tooth formation and accounts for around 22 per cent of odontogenic tumours. 
Odontoma is often classified as a benign (non-cancerous) odontogenic tumour. In simple terms if we conclude, odontoma is described as a tumour of the tooth formed due to overgrowth of dental cells and tissues.
As a result of odontoma, the dental cells form variable amounts of dental contents like enamel, dentin, pulp and cementum which are organised in an abnormal pattern due to problems in their development, compared to their true structural growth.
Types Of Odontoma
Odontoma is mainly classified into four types by the WHO according to the stages of tooth development. They are:
1. Complex odontoma: When the dental tissues are arranged in an irregular mass with no relation to the primary teeth structure.  It accounts for 5-30 per cent of cases.
2. Compound odontoma: When the odontogenic tissues are arranged in an orderly pattern showing many teeth-like structures, but not biologically similar to normal teeth.  It accounts for 9-37 per cent of cases.
3. Odonto-ameloblastoma: It is a rare subtype of odontoma that resembles noncancerous tumours of the jaws both clinically and structurally, but contains dentine and enamel.
4. Ameloblastic fibro-odontoma: It is considered an immature precursor of complex odontoma.
Causes Of Odontoma
The exact cause of tumours and cysts starting in the jaws is still unknown. Studies say that odontoma starts due to the proliferation of cells and tissues which are involved in normal tooth development. This could be the result of some genetic syndromes, environmental factors or due to both the factors.
Symptoms Of Odontoma
Odontomas are usually asymptomatic in the beginning, but there are many clinical signs that could help to indicate odontomas such as: 
- Retention of deciduous teeth.
- Lack of eruption of permanent teeth.
- Impacted teeth
- Displacement of teeth from its position.
- Expansion of outer jaw bone.
- Numbness in the lower lip area.
- Swelling in the jaws or near the jaws area where there is a tumour.
- Evidence of infection.
Diagnosis Of Odontoma
As aforementioned, odontomas are mainly asymptomatic and are often diagnosed during routine dental checkups. Some of the diagnostic methods to diagnose odontoma include: 
- Radiography: It helps get the proper image of the tissues, bone and vessels of the jaws to see for any signs of tumour.
- X-ray: It also helps get images of tumours, if present.
- Patient history and physical examination: It helps the patient know whether they had any history of odontoma or any cancer, followed by examining the areas near the teeth.
Treatments Of Odontoma
The treatment of odontoma may differ from person to person depending on the severity, symptoms, stage of growth and type of odontogenic tumour. The primary treatment for odontoma is surgery that includes removing the jaw tumours and cysts which are nearby teeth and jawbone.  Large lesions sometimes require adding the bone to fill the gap caused by its removal.
The method is often followed by medical therapy such as the use of medications to reduce pain and swelling in the area. Supportive care along with the treatment helps improve the quality of life, by helping in swallowing, speech and replacing the missing teeth.
There's no exact cause for the development of a tumour and it can occur due to many factors. Routine checkups can help diagnose any cancer type at an early stage and treat the condition successfully.