The dental follicle is radiographically and histologically observed in association with unerupted or impacted teeth. However, this normal tissue structure is often confused with odontogenic tumors by pathologists with limited experience in evaluating jaw lesions. This study was designed to evaluate the incidence and possible reasons for incorrect interpretation of dental follicles. From 1970 to 1988, 847 dental follicles and/or dental papillas from 663 patients were submitted to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) by medical pathologists seeking diagnostic consultation. Nearly 84% of patients were in the second and third decades of life. The male to female ratio was 1.4:1.0. Over 70% of specimens were obtained from around impacted third molar teeth. Fifty-three percent of specimens were correctly interpreted by the contributing pathologists. Only a descriptive interpretation was given for 17%, no diagnosis was made in 10%, and 20% were incorrectly diagnosed. In descending order, the most frequent incorrect diagnoses were odontogenic cyst, odontogenic myxoma, odontogenic fibroma, ameloblastic fibroma, odontoma, and ameloblastoma. Dental papillas were most frequently misdiagnosed as odontogenic myxomas. The histologic features and diagnostic pitfalls are discussed, as well as the need to consider the clinical, radiographic, and microscopic features in arriving at a final diagnosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Oral Surgery