Dentigerous cysts are an infrequently occurring cancer-like lesion arising from the cellular components of the developing dental follicle. It is often associated with the crown of an unerupted permanent tooth.
Dentigerous cysts arise from the epithelial remnants of the enamel organ or the reduced enamel epithelium that surrounds the crown during odontogenesis. They subsequently enclose the crown of the unerupted tooth and are attached to the tooth at the cemento-enamel junction.
Dentigerous cysts are usually a developmental problem due to a physical barrier (impacted tooth) or a lack of eruptive forces (embedded tooth). Rare iatrogenic cases have been reported following the extraction of a deciduous tooth.
Dentigerous cysts can be diagnosed at any age, and most dogs are accidentally diagnosed or present with facial symmetry or an oral mass. Dentigerous cysts can greatly weaken the surrounding bone or invade the nasal cavities, resulting in secondary infections and pathological fractures.
Diagnosis is usually based on clinical examination, but histological analysis is usually required to eliminate other differential causes. Radiography usually show a circular radiolucent lesion with a well-defined cortex that is uniform, thin and has a radio-opaque line.
Removal of the unerupted tooth and enucleation of the entire cyst wall is curative in most cases.
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