Diagnosis and management of unusual dental abscesses in children.
Although the majority of dental abscesses in children originate from dental caries or trauma, a few are associated with unusual conditions which challenge diagnosis and management. Recent research findings have shed light on these unusual entities and greatly improved understanding of their clinical implications. These conditions include developmental abnormalities such as dens invaginatus in which there is an invagination of dental tissues into the pulp chamber and dens evaginatus in which a tubercle containing pulp is found on the external surface of a tooth crown. In addition, inherited conditions which show abnormal dentine such as dentine dysplasia, dentinogenesis imperfecta, and osteogenesis imperfecta predispose the dentition to abscess formation. Furthermore, 'spontaneous' dental abscesses are frequently encountered in familial hypophosphataemia, also known as vitamin D-resistant rickets, in which there is hypomineralization of dentine and enlargement of the pulp. In addition to developmental conditions, there are also acquired conditions which may cause unusual dental abscesses. These include pre-eruptive intracoronal resorption which was previously known as 'pre-eruptive caries' or the 'fluoride bomb'. In addition, some undiagnosed infections associated with developing teeth are now thought to be the mandibular infected buccal cysts which originate from infection of the developing dental follicles. In the present paper, these relatively unknown entities which cause unusual abscesses in children are reviewed with the aim of updating the general practitioner in their diagnosis and management.
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