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J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2019 May-Aug;23(2):178-186. doi: 10.4103/jomfp.JOMFP_211_19.

The World Health Organization classification of odontogenic and maxillofacial bone tumors: An appraisal.

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Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, Meenakshi Academy of Higher Education and Research, Faculty of Dentistry, Meenakshi Ammal Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.


Classification is the process of grouping similar entities under one category for the ease of their comprehension and better handling. Medical classification dates back to the days of William Farr who is credited with the development of a nosology, which later served as the forerunner for the modern-day disease classification by ICD. The WHO system of classification is a time-honoured system that has prevailed from decades together and is under constant evolution. The classification of odontogenic tumours was first formulated by Pierre Paul Broca and has undergone several transformations over years. Though the earlier classifications and their modifications by several authors and even by the WHO appeared to be fitting for their time, the latest edition of WHO classification of odontogenic and maxillofacial bone tumours neither seems to be complete nor perfect, even at the present context. It is unfortunate that even with the advancement of molecular biology, the present WHO classification on Odontogenic and Maxillofacial bone tumours, fails to serve as a 'reference standard' in the true sense of the term. This article highlights the limitations of the current classification with constructive criticism that may help in further improvement.


Ameloblastoma; Broca; World Health Organization Classification; bone tumors; maxillofacial bone tumors; neoplasms; nonodontogenic cysts; odontogenic cysts; odontogenic keratocyst; odontogenic tumors

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