Dentigerous cysts of inflammatory origin. A clinicopathologic study

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 1996 Feb;81(2):203-9. doi: 10.1016/s1079-2104(96)80416-1.


The exact histogenesis of dentigerous cysts remains unknown, but most authors favor a developmental origin from the tooth follicle. The aim of this article is to report a series of 15 dentigerous cysts that we believe to be of inflammatory origin. These inflammatory dentigerous cysts occurred in the first and early part of the second decades of life. Males were affected more frequently, and there did not appear to be any racial predilection. All of the cases involved permanent teeth: premolars in nine cases, canines in four cases, and second molars in two cases. The mandible was affected twice as frequently as the maxilla. In 13 cases, nonvital grossly carious or heavily restored deciduous teeth were associated with the cysts. Some of these teeth had been extracted before the cysts were diagnosed. In the remaining two cases, both of which involved the second permanent molars, there were no nonvital deciduous teeth, however both had concomitant proliferative periostitis. All of the cysts were moderately or intensely inflamed and were lined predominantly or entirely by nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithelium that in some cases was markedly hyperplastic and exhibited anastomosing rete ridges mimicking radicular cysts. In the majority of cases, parts of the cysts were lined with a 2 to 3 cell layer thick cuboidal epithelium that we believe was derived from reduced enamel epithelium. Rests of odontogenic epithelium frequently were evident in the cyst walls. We suggest that these cysts arose as a result of periapical inflammation from any source but usually from a nonvital deciduous tooth and spreading to involve the follicles of the unerupted permanent successors. The inflammatory exudate causes separation of the reduced enamel epithelium from the enamel with resultant cyst formation. This study proposes the existence of two types of dentigerous cysts: one developmental and the other inflammatory in nature.

MeSH terms

  • Bicuspid / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cuspid / pathology
  • Dental Caries / complications
  • Dental Enamel / pathology
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / adverse effects
  • Dental Sac / pathology
  • Dentigerous Cyst / etiology
  • Dentigerous Cyst / pathology*
  • Epithelium / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Mandibular Diseases / etiology
  • Mandibular Diseases / pathology
  • Maxillary Diseases / etiology
  • Maxillary Diseases / pathology
  • Molar / pathology
  • Periapical Periodontitis / complications
  • Periostitis / complications
  • Radicular Cyst / pathology
  • Sex Factors
  • Tooth, Deciduous / pathology
  • Tooth, Unerupted / pathology