dental cysts and tumors

While cysts are common, tumors also affect many people. Both cysts and tumors can grow in any part of the body, including the insides of the mouth. Yes, you read that Interested in learning more on this topic? Continue reading the article.  

What is a Dental Cyst?

A dental cyst or a jaw cyst is a sac of fluid that develops where a tooth hasn’t erupted in the jaw bone. It primarily occurs because of a tooth infection and affects the molars or canines. Although mild initially, odontogenic cysts can cause severe complications if not treated. People in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, are prone to these cysts, mainly because they singularly occur in people with permanent teeth.

What are the Causes of Dental Cysts?

In many cases, cysts grow at the tip of a dead or a dying tooth’s root or at a location where a tooth has not erupted correctly. However, a few other causes of dental cysts include:

  • A poorly performed or a failed root canal procedure
  • Impacted tooth 
  • Gorlin’s syndrome, a genetic disease

What are the Symptoms of Dental Cysts?

Common symptoms of dental cysts are:

  • A small lump where a tooth should have grown
  • Swelling
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth dislocation 
  • Space between displaced teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Numbness in face

These symptoms may not appear if the cyst is smaller than two cms. 

What are the Types of Dental Cysts?

Dental cysts have three types, namely:

  1. Periapical Cyst 

The periapical cyst has many other names—odontogenic cyst, apical periodontal cyst, radicular cyst, and root end cyst. The common reason for developing this type of cyst is necrosis of a tooth’s pulp tissue because of trauma or decay. Death of the tissues in the dental pulp triggers inflammation and releases toxins at the apex or root tip’s end. Treatment methods for periapical cysts include endodontic treatment, tooth extraction and replacement with artificial bone material, and retrograde root canal filling.

  1. Dentigerous Cyst 

Also known as a follicular cyst, it typically forms around the lower wisdom teeth or the permanent upper canines. Because of the pressure exerted by an unerupted or wrongly erupted tooth, the crown area of an unerupted tooth is also susceptible to dentigerous cysts pressure. This pressure restricts blood flow, leading to fluid accumulation between the enamel membrane tissue and the direction toward the crown of a tooth. Dentigerous cysts usually grow and enlarge rapidly. Treatment includes surgical excision of the cyst and/or extraction of the affected tooth. If the cyst has affected your wisdom teeth, it is wise to stay in touch with your dental surgeon and follow instructions rather than wonder how long it will take wisdom teeth holes to close after the surgery.  Follicular cysts are likely to recur, so you will still need periodic check-ups to prevent or detect them as early as possible. 

  1. Keratocystic Odontogenic Tumors (KCOTs) 

Like the other types of cysts, keratocystic odontogenic tumors are benign cysts that develop in the mandible or posterior area of the lower jaw. However, biopsy, microscopic analysis, or dental x-ray may be required for accurate detection and diagnosis. Often, swelling is the first and sometimes the only sign of a keratocystic odontogenic tumor. Studies are underway to determine the exact cause of KCOTs. Some experts believe that KCOTs arise from the lamina of impacted teeth, while others assert that these cysts develop where teeth should have grown. Surgical enucleation, the removal of the cyst without excision, is the standard treatment for KCOTs. However, they have a recurrence rate of up to 60%; therefore, regular oral health monitoring is essential to prevent it.

What is a Dental Tumor?

A dental tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue cells that typically begins under soft tissue in the jaw. Whether a dental tumor is benign or malignant can be determined only after clinical examination. Contact your dentist immediately if you suspect a dental cyst or a tumor to avoid oral health risks. Standard methods to detect jaw tumors include visual inspection, soft tissue examination, and dental x-rays. 

How to Know if a Tumor is Benign or Malignant?

Slow and localized growth are two typical signs of benign tumors. They put pressure on surrounding dental structures but are unlikely to spread to other body parts. Alternatively, rapid cell growth in malignant tumors affects other parts of the body and triggers related symptoms such as pain, swelling, and even facial anomalies in severe cases.

What are the Common Symptoms of Dental Tumors?

Sometimes, dental tumors may initially look and feel like a dental cysts. Symptoms such as jaw pain, bumps on the jaw, swelling, and tooth mobility may overlap. Therefore, a thorough oral health check-up is mandatory to identify if it is a cyst or a tumor, and if it is benign or malignant. As dental tumor worsens, it can weaken the jaw because of bone resorption and tumor spreading to the bony tissue. 

What are the Types of Dental Tumors?

The following are the types of dental tumors. Most cases of dental tumors require surgical 

  • Ameloblastoma
  • Central giant cell granuloma
  • Odontoma
  • Odontogenic myxoma
  • Calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor
  • Adenomatoid odontogenic tumor
  • Squamous odontogenic tumor
  • Ossifying fibroma
  • Central odontogenic fibroma 

Most cases of dental tumors require surgical treatment and regular oral health monitoring to prevent their recurrence. 

Some cysts or tumors develop without symptoms and get detected when it is too late, thus jeopardizing your oral health, mental peace, and financial management. Therefore, it is wise to go for oral health examinations regularly. Remember! Better to be safe than sorry. 

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