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What Is A Pindborg Tumour?

While most people expect their dentist to talk to them about gum disease and tooth decay, other conditions are more unusual. A lot of people overlook strange bumps and growths in their mouths, but some types of swelling are harder to ignore. A Pindborg tumour is a rare type of growth, and you can learn more about the symptoms of this condition, and find out what sort of treatment you can expect for these tumours.


The Pindborg tumour takes its name from a Danish pathologist called Jens Jorgen Pindborg. Pindborg discovered the condition in 1955, and these tumours have a number of more complex medical names. 

Your dentist may describe the condition as:

  • A calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor
  • An adenoid adamtoblastoma
  • An unusual ameloblastoma
  • A cystic odontoma

Few patients experience this condition. Indeed, Pindborg tumours represent less than one per cent of all the tooth tumours that dentists treat.


 A Pindborg tumour normally develops slowly, and patients may not notice any symptoms for some time. The tumour normally develops in the tooth bone, but you can also get this condition in the surrounding tissues. The swelling can grow to a considerable size, so you (and your loved ones) may start to notice facial asymmetry. Some patients also experience bulging eyes, nosebleeds or obstructed nasal passages, depending on the exact location of the tumour in the mouth.

Very often, the swelling is not painful, but the tumour can become tender when touched, particularly when patients clean their teeth or floss. The lump can feel quite hard and bony. Left untreated, the tumour may eventually erupt.

Causes and complications

Pindborg tumours can occur throughout adulthood, but the growths most commonly affect people between the ages of 40 and 60. Many reported cases occur when the patient has an unerupted or embedded tooth.

Left untreated, the tumour can cause other dental problems. The tumour can sometimes lead to tooth tipping, where the crown moves in one direction and the root goes another way. Tooth rotation and migration can also occur, and the tooth may eventually become unusable. In these cases, dentists will normally have to extract the affected teeth.

Pindborg tumours are benign, which means they cannot invade neighbouring tissue. Nonetheless, the tumours often develop aggressively, so it's always important to seek treatment.

Treatment options

Like most other dental conditions, your treatment options will vary according to several factors. Your dentist will need to consider the size and position of the tumour in your mouth. He or she will also need to think about your current health and medical history. For example, if you have an underlying auto-immune deficiency, surgery may present higher risks.

If the tumour is small and has well-defined borders, the dentist will normally remove the growth using a simple surgical procedure called enucleation. In this case, you will only need a local anaesthetic. The dentist will lift away a flap of your gum, so he or she can get to the jaw bone. He or she will then use a sharp instrument called a curette to delicately cut the tumour away, and the dentist will normally also remove a thin layer of the bone next to the tumour. You may need an external pressure dressing to allow a blood clot to form, but the wound will then heal naturally.

Larger tumours may need more extensive surgery, including techniques called segmental resection and hemimandibulectomy. In this case, you will undergo a general anaesthetic, and you may need several sessions to correct the problem. With hemimandibulectomy, the dentist or surgeon may need to use bone grafts to reconstruct part of your jaw.

Unfortunately, a Pindborg tumour may recur. Studies estimate that the recurrence rate is between 10 and 15 per cent.

Few people will experience a Pindborg tumour, but it's important to talk to your dentist if you see symptoms that could relate to this condition. Left untreated, one of these tumours could cause further problems with your teeth.