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A cementicle is a small, spherical or ovoid calcified mass embedded within or attached to the cementum layer on the root surface of a tooth, or lying free within the periodontal ligament.[1][2] They tend to occur in elderly individuals.[3][4]

There are 3 types:[5][6]

  • Free cementicle – not attached to cementum[5]
  • Attached (sessile) cementicle – attached to the cementum surface[5] (also termed exocementosis)[3]
  • Embedded (interstitial) cementicle – with advancing age the cementum thickens,[3] and the cementicle may become incorporated into the cementum layer[5]

They may be visible on a radiograph (x-ray).[2] They may appear singly or in groups,[1] and are most commonly found at the tip of the root.[6] Their size is variable,[5] but generally they are small (about 0.2 mm[6] – 0.3 mm in diameter).[5]

Cementicles are usually acellular, and may contain either fibrillar or afibrillar cementum, or a mixture of both.[5] Cementicles are the result of dystrophic calcification,[5] but the reason why this takes place is unclear.[3] Cementicles are thought to form when calcification occurs around a nidus, a precipitating center. Around this nidus they slowly enlarge by further deposition of calcium salts.[5] Examples of how cementicles are thought to form include:


  1. ^ a b Chiego Jr. DJ (14 April 2014). Essentials of Oral Histology and Embryology: A Clinical Approach. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-323-29100-2.
  2. ^ a b c Bath-Balogh M; Fehrenbach MJ (10 December 2010). Illustrated Dental Embryology, Histology, and Anatomy. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-4377-2934-4.
  3. ^ a b c d Kumar GS (10 February 2014). Orban's Oral Histology & Embryology. Elsevier Health Sciences APAC. p. 196. ISBN 978-81-312-3801-1.
  4. ^ a b Mosby (1 August 2013). Mosby's Dental Dictionary. Elsevier Health Sciences. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-323-10013-7.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Ghom A; Mhaske S (17 September 2010). Textbook of Oral Pathology. Jaypee Brothers Publishers. p. 122. ISBN 978-81-8448-402-1.
  6. ^ a b c d Chatterjee K (1 December 2006). Essentials of Oral Histology. Jaypee Brothers Publishers. p. 112. ISBN 978-81-8061-865-9.

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