A cyst –

is a sac of tissue that has either fluid or soft material inside it. Cysts can form in a wide range of tissues including in the face and mouth (including the jaws).

Dental cysts or jaw cysts

Are the ones formed next to or around teeth. Cysts are usually slow growing, but they could be the reason of  the weaken jaws or other complications.

What are dental cysts

Periapical cyst (odontogenic cyst or radicular cyst)

is the most common odontogenic cyst and has various names, including radicular cyst, apical periodontal cyst, root end cyst, or dental cyst.

Cause: The death or necrosis of the pulp tissue inside the tooth, which stems from tooth decay or trauma. The process of pulpal necrosis causes inflammation and the release of toxins at the apex or end of the root tip.

Treatment: Commonly treated by endodontic therapy. In case the endodontic treatment is not effective, the extraction of the tooth is used, the place of cyst is cleaned and filled with the artificial bone material.

Traditional methods were not effective enough as cysts used to form again. To avoid this the retrograde root canal filling should be used according to the most modern treatment methods.

Follicular cyst or Dentigerous Cyst –

most commonly found in the area of the lower wisdom teeth or the permanent upper canines, develop around the crown of an unerupted tooth.

Cause: The pressure exerted by an erupting tooth on the follicle may cause the dentigerous cyst. This pressure can obstruct the blood flow and create an accumulation of fluid between the enamel membrane tissue and the coronal portion of the tooth. Dentigerous cysts usually grow and expand rapidly.

Treatment: The extraction of the associated tooth and the surgical excision of the cyst. Treatment is often successful, the patient is recalled to watch for recurrance.

Keratocystic Odontogenic Tumors (KCOTs) –

are found mostly in the posterior area of the lower jaw or mandible and their characteristics are similar as other types of cysts. An precise diagnosis can be achieved just with biopsy and microscopic analysis, panoramic xray.

Cause: Swelling is often the only symptom a patient will experience. There are several theories surrounding the origin of the keratocyst. Some experts believe the cyst develops in the place the tooth should have. Others argue that the tumors arise from the lamina of impacted teeth.

Treatment: surgical excision is used with additional treatment. The patient is monitored throughout his lifetime to check for evidence of recurrance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do dental cysts form?

Dental cysts can form at the tip of the roots of dead teeth. They can also form around the crowns (and roots) of buried teeth. Most cysts form because the teeth they are associated with have died (infection or trauma), the root of the teeth was not treated or was treated incorrectly. Others form because of a mistake in the way the teeth have developed (including being unable to grow into the mouth properly). Rarely, dental cysts are part of a genetic syndrome that has other symptoms (eg Gorlin’s syndrome). Your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon will explain to you more about the cause of your cyst.

What problems can dental cysts cause?

Dental cysts can cause several problems like causing pain and/or swelling when they become infected, weaken jaws, press other teeth, etc.

How would I know if I have a dental cyst?

You might find out that you have a dental cyst when it becomes infected (it would become paintful). Your dentist might tell you that you have a dental cyst after looking at a dental or jaw 3D x-ray. Some people only find out they have a dental cyst after their jaw trauma, as the result of the weaken jaw by the cyst.

How can I prevent dental cysts from forming?

Teeth that remain alive, rarely have cysts develop next to them. If the nerves in a tooth die (as a result of an infection or trauma), it should be treated proffesionally to stop it becoming a source of infection. If this is successful, the tissues next to the root shouldn’t be stimulated to form a cyst (or an abscess). This is the reasons why the regular visits to the dentist are very important.

Sometimes, your dentist will be concerned that you might have a buried tooth. 3D i-CAT computer tomography is recommended for such cases for the possibility to check for the tooth position and state of health. This can either help to detect cysts when they are small and/or prevent the formation of cysts by removing the potential starting point.

How are dental cysts treated?

The treatment your dentist or oral and maxillofacial surgeon will recommend for a dental cyst depends on the location, type and size of cyst. The endodontic treatment could be used for some case or extraction is used for the other ones.

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