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Defects of enamel and dentine

Regional odontodysplasia (ghost teeth)

This localised disorder of development affects a group of teeth in which there are severe abnormalities of enamel, dentine and pulp. The disorder is not hereditary, and the aetiology is unknown. A few cases have been associated with facial vascular naevi or abnormalities such as hydrocephalus. There is no sex or racial predilection.

Clinically, regional odontodysplasia may be recognisable at the time of eruption of the deciduous teeth (2–4 years) or of the permanent teeth (7–11 years). The maxillary teeth are most frequently affected. Either or both dentitions, and one or, at most, two quadrants may be affected. The abnormal teeth frequently fail to erupt but, if they do, show yellowish deformed crowns with a rough surface.

Radiographically : Affected teeth have very thin enamel and dentine surrounding a greatly enlarged pulp chamber. In radiographs, the teeth appear crumpled and abnormally radiolucent or hazy, due to the paucity of dental hard tissues, explaining the term ‘ghost teeth’


 Radiographic appearance of regional odontodysplasia. The lower left 5 and 6 are affected. Note their abnormal outline and radiodensity by comparison with the 4 and 7.

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