|Micrograph of an ameloblastoma showing the characteristic nuclear palisading and stellate reticulum. H&E stain.|
|Classification and external resources|
Ameloblastoma (from the early English word amel, meaning enamel + the Greek word blastos, meaning germ) is a rare, benign tumor of odontogenic epithelium (ameloblasts, or outside portion, of the teeth during development) much more commonly appearing in the lower jaw than the upper jaw. It was recognized in 1827 by Cusack. This type of odontogenic neoplasm was designated as an adamantinoma in 1885 by the French physician Louis-Charles Malassez. It was finally renamed to the modern name ameloblastoma in 1930 by Ivey and Churchill.
While these tumors are rarely malignant or metastatic (that is, they rarely spread to other parts of the body), and progress slowly, the resulting lesions can cause severe abnormalities of the face and jaw. Additionally, because abnormal cell growth easily infiltrates and destroys surrounding bony tissues, wide surgical excision is required to treat this disorder. If an aggressive tumor is left untreated, it can obstruct the nasal and oral airways making it impossible to breathe without oropharyngeal intervention.