Dental dysplasia must be differentiated from odontoma. The term "odontoma" refers to what most authorities consider a hamartomatous malformation that resembles a neoplasm. Odontomas are characterized by proliferative redundancies of the dental organ that progress to the stage of both enamel and dentin formation. Size and cellularity/proliferative activity are criteria for differentiating odontomas from dental dysplasia. In general, dental dysplasia resembles attempted repair (reminiscent of a fracture callus with abundant dense bone/osteodentin) with some residual active dental organ tissue. The diagnosis of "odontoma" is reserved for larger, more cellular masses that appear to be proliferating beyond what one would expect for a developing tooth or attempted repair of a tooth fracture. Because of expansion, odontomas can be destructive masses.
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