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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents  
Ahead of print publication
Odontoma – Basic third dimensional histopathology model using 3D animation software and clay model

 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Microbiology, D.Y. Patil University, School of Dentistry, Nerul, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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Date of Submission10-May-2022
Date of Decision27-May-2022
Date of Acceptance14-Aug-2022
Date of Web Publication05-Jan-2023


Background: Oral lesions of the jaw has been well explained in the literature through high-quality 2D clinical, radiographic, and histopathological images. But the clinicians and most of the times students too, don't understand the histopathological aspect through the description of text and existing 2D images. This article is preliminary attempt to explain the key events of histopathological aspects of odontoma in third dimension and clay models in a life-like manner which author herself has designed, for better understanding not only by oral and general pathologists, and students but also by patients, which is the unique feature of this short manuscript. Aim: To create 3D animation video and images of odontoma using various 3D animation softwares and clay models. Methodology: Preliminary 3D images and videos on histopathological aspect of odontoma were designed by using 3Dmax (Autodesk Media and Entertainment) and Adobe premiere pro 5.5 software which is a video editing software (Adobe Systems). Additionally models were prepared using kids' colourful clay material. Observation: The clay model and 3D animation videos gave life like picture of a disease. Conclusion: 3D animation and clay models to explain histopathology has promising future for histology and histopathology.

Keywords: Autodesk 3ds Max software, clay model, histology, odontome, software, third dimension

How to cite this URL:
Tamgadge S, Tamgadge AP, Nayak A. Odontoma – Basic third dimensional histopathology model using 3D animation software and clay model. J Microsc Ultrastruct [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://www.jmau.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=366815

  Introduction Top

The term odontoma was first coined by Paul Broca in 1867. It constitutes 22% of all odontogenic tumors of the jaws. They are considered to be hamartomas rather than true neoplasm.[1],[2]

Odontome is a tumor-like malformation that arises from tooth-forming tissues made up of an abnormal mixture or nondescript masses of dental tissues. There are two types of odontome.[3] In this brief report, the author has created a third dimension (3D) of histopathological aspect of odontome using kids' colorful clay material and 3D animation software to showcase the intact microanatomy of odontome.

  Brief Information about Odontome Top

It is formed as a result of terminated tooth formation process and is described as a tumor of the tooth formed due to the overgrowth of dental tissues. Due to which, variable amounts of dental contents such as enamel, dentin, pulp, and cementum are organized in an abnormal pattern due to malformations in their development, compared to their true structural growth.[4]


  1. Compound odontome – According to the World Health Organization, it is defined as “A malformation in which all dental tissues are represented in a more orderly pattern than in the complex odontoma, so that the lesion contains many tooth-like structures. Most of these structures do not morphologically resemble the teeth in the normal dentition; however, enamel, dentin, cementum and pulp are arranged as in the normal tooth.” It has predilection for anterior maxilla. It accounts for 5%–30% of cases[5],[6]
  2. Complex odontome is “a malformation in which all the dental tissues are well formed but occurring in a more or less disorderly pattern.” It has predilection for posterior jaws. It accounts for 9%–37% of cases.[5],[6]


Relative frequency is between 5% and 30%; complex odontome is one of the most common odontogenic lesions than compound odontome.[7]


Based on 137 cases of odontome survey done by Reichart and Phillipsen, the mean age of diagnosis is 19.5 years; 83.9% of cases occurred before the age of 30 with a peak in the 2nd decade of life.[7]


There is slight predilection for occurrence in males (59%) as compared to females (41%).[7]

Causes of odontoma

The exact cause is still unknown. Studies say that odontoma occurs due to the proliferation of cells and tissues which are involved in normal tooth development. This could be the result of some genetic syndromes, environmental factors or due to both.[8]

Symptoms of odontoma

Odontomas are usually asymptomatic in the beginning, but there are many clinical signs that could help to indicate odontomas such as:[4]

  • Retention of deciduous teeth
  • Lack of eruption of permanent teeth
  • Impacted teeth
  • Displacement of teeth from its position
  • Expansion of outer jaw bone
  • Numbness in the lower lip area
  • Swelling in the jaws or near the jaws area where there is a tumor
  • Evidence of infection.[9]

It may occur in association with odontogenic cysts such as (1) calcifying odontogenic cysts and dentigerous cysts.[10],[11]

  Methodology Top

Clay model

A kids' colorful clay material has been used. Red-blue, yellow, and white colors were selected to represent pulp, cementum, dentin, and enamel. Clay was molded to form normal architecture of tooth and both types of odontome too.

Third dimension model using software

Preliminary, 3D images and videos on the histopathological aspect of odontome were designed using 3D Max (Autodesk Media and Entertainment) and Adobe premiere pro 5.5 software (Adobe Systems Incorporated, San Jose, California America) which is a video editing software (Adobe Systems).

  Representative Model of Odontome Using Clay Top

There has been no report where oral histopathology has been explained using clay model. This would be the first report.

Four different colors of kids' colorful clay material have been used to represent enamel. Dentin, cementum, and pulp of the tooth germ was arranged in normal micro anatomical layout. All the components of clay are then kneaded to mould and mixed between the palm to make a round dough so that it will represent well-defined benign tumor of complex odontomas.

The round dough was then cut in the center to show a random mixture of different components of a tooth such as enamel, dentin, cementum, and pulp.

A compound odontome was also made showing multiple miniatures of tooth-like model [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Clay model – (A1) Tooth germ with partial root formation. (A2) L.S of tooth germ, (A3) Complex odontome, (A4) T.S. of odontome. (B1) Complex odontome. (B2) Compound odontome consists of tooth-like structures

Click here to view

  Representative Model of Odontome Using Third Dimension Animation Top

There have been very few lesions which have been explained using 3D animation software designed by the author herself.[12],[13],[14],[15],[16],[17] All lesions of oral pathology curriculum should also be explained using 3D animation for better understanding. Odontome has never been explained using 3D animation. This would be the first report.

A tooth germ has been shown in bell stage where the tooth-forming cells are in formative stage. Intact normal tooth germ has been shown with partially opened layers of basement membrane of outer enamel epithelium and inner enamel epithelium.

Another model shows a fully opened layer of tooth germ showing all cell layers.

Odontome is basically a random mixture of all components of tooth germ with calcified tissue formation. 3D model shows intact uncut tooth germ showing the initial stage of transformation into complex odontome [Figure 2].
Figure 2: Third dimension images – (a) Intact tooth germ showing basement membrane of outer enamel epithelium (1), Inner enamel epithelium, (2) Dental sac (3). (b) All layers of tooth germ. (c and d) Random mixture of all components to form complex odontome, Stellate reticulum (4), dentin (5)

Click here to view

3D animation video shows the lifelike process of odontome transformation from a tooth germ [Video 1].

  Conclusion Top

More newer methods should come up in future in teaching methodology to explain the lifelike process of histopathology and physiology.


Dr. Sandhya Tamgadge would like to acknowledge 1) Mr. Harishankar Agnihotri and late Mr. Bhavesh, both faculties of “Maya Academy of Advanced Cinematics (MAAC),” Mulund West, Mumbai Maharashtra, for teaching various software to the author (Dr. Sandhya Tamgadge) during her 1-year course in 2014–2015 at MAAC, to create 3D images and video. 2) Mrs. Ruchi Chandak Gandhi for providing clay material during covid lockdown.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Neville DW, Damm DD, Allen CM, Bouquot JE. In: Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders; 2009. p. 528-9.  Back to cited text no. 1
Barnes L, Eveson JW, Reichart P, Sidransky D, editors. World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. Pathology and Genetics of E558 Head and Neck Tumours. Lyon, France: IARC Press; 2005.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rajendran R. Benign and malignant tumors of the oral cavity. In: Rajendran R, Sivapathasundharam B, editors. Shafer's Textbook of Oral Pathology. 6th ed. New Delhi: Reed Elsevier Private Limited; 2009. p. 96-100.  Back to cited text no. 3
Regezi J, Sciubba J. Clinical Pathologic Correlations Oral Pathology. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Company; 2009. p. 242-3.  Back to cited text no. 4
Speight PM, Takata T. New tumour entities in the 4th edition of the World Health Organization Classification of Head and Neck tumours: Odontogenic and maxillofacial bone tumours. Virchows Arch 2018;472:331-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Sapp JP, Eversole LR, Wysocki GP. Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. 2nd ed. St. Louis: Mosby; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 6
Marx RE, Stern D. Oral and maxillofacial pathology: a rationale for diagnosis and treatment. Hanover Park, II: Quintessence Publishing; 2003.  Back to cited text no. 7
Barrera VA, Rascón AN. Descriptive aspects of odontoma: Literature review. Rev Odontológica Mex 2016;20:272-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
Cawsons RA, Odell EW. Cowson's Essentials of Oral Pathology and Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Churchil Livingstone, Elsevier; 2008. p. 108-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
Sales MA, Cavalcanti MG. Complex odontoma associated with dentigerous cyst in maxillary sinus: Case report and computed tomography features. Dentomaxillofac Radiol 2009;38:48-52.  Back to cited text no. 10
Gallana-Alvarez S, Mayorga-Jimenez F, Torres-Gómez FJ, Avellá-Vecino FJ, Salazar-Fernandez C. Calcifying odontogenic cyst associated with complex odontoma: Case report and review of the literature. Med Oral Patol Oral Cir Bucal 2005;10:243-7.  Back to cited text no. 11
Tamgadge S, Tamgadge A. Third dimension on histopathological aspect of oral lichen planus: An innovation in teaching oral pathology. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2019;23:310.  Back to cited text no. 12
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Tamgadge S, Tamgadge A. Histopathology of oral submucous fibrosis in third dimension with an additional note on hypothesis of epithelial atrophy. J Microsc Ultrastruct 2020;8:31-4.  Back to cited text no. 13
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Tamgadge SA, Tamgadge A. Histopathological aspect of oral epithelial dysplasia – Third dimension “ A preliminary report. Acta Sci Dent Sci 2018;2:33-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
Tamgadge S, Malathi N. From the Author's desk. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2015;19:273-4.  Back to cited text no. 15
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Sandhya T, Avinash T. A survey based pilot study on three dimensional images and animated videos in oral histopathology. Int J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2015;6:2-8.  Back to cited text no. 16
Tamgadge S, Tamgadge A. Histology of tooth development in 3D animation video and images – A preliminary report. J Microsc Ultrastruct 2021;9:141-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
  [Full text]  

Correspondence Address:
Sandhya Tamgadge,
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and Microbiology, D.Y. Patil University, School of Sentistry, Nerul, Navi Mumbai - 400 706, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmau.jmau_37_22


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