Oral Cysts

A cyst is a sac or pouch that forms under the skin or in bone. It is lined with a kind of tissue called epithelium. The cyst can be empty or contain fluid. A cyst is not cancerous.

There are many types of cysts.

Sometimes a cyst in the jawbone is lined with cells that normally form teeth. This type of jaw cyst can grow large enough to move teeth and cause problems with the bite (the way teeth come together).

Cyst can be seen on an X-ray as a dark area in the bone. When a cyst becomes large and infected, it may be painful. It also can cause the jawbone to bulge, and teeth to move. 

Oral Cysts

A large cyst also can weaken the jaw because the cyst replaces the hard bone tissue. This makes the jaw more likely to break. The jaw can become inflamed, infected and painful. 

Oral Cysts

The most common cyst found in the mouth is the apical periodontal cyst. It develops as a result of an infection in the tooth pulp, or nerve. This infection typically is caused by decay. 

Oral Cysts

A dentigerous cyst forms around the crown of a tooth that has not yet come into the mouth. This type of cyst can cause roots of already erupted teeth in the area to resorb (dissolve). 

Oral Cysts

A cyst in soft tissue may appear as a small, painless bump. It can be under the skin of the inner lower lip, inner cheek or gums. It usually does not cause pain unless it becomes infected.

If you have a cyst, your surgeon will remove a small piece of tissue or the entire cyst is removed. The fluid or tissue is analyzed in a laboratory. A biopsy will determine the type of cyst and how it should be treated. It also will confirm that you have a cyst, not cancer.

Without treatment, a cyst may continue to get larger. Cysts are removed by surgery. An oral surgeon usually does this procedure under local anesthesia. If the cyst is large or if it is your preference, the cyst may be removed under general anaesthesia (patient asleep) in hospital.

The outlook is excellent because cysts can be removed by surgery. However, some cysts return. People who have had a cyst removed should be checked from time to time by their surgeon. 


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