A cyst is a sack or pouch which forms within tissues and contains fluid. Around the face and mouth they can develop under the skin, under the mouth lining, within the saliva glands, and within the jawbones.
There are several different types of cysts within the jawbones.
- The commonest type is called a periapical cyst. These develop around the roots of teeth due to chronic infection.
- Some cysts can develop around an un-erupted tooth such as a wisdom tooth. These are called dentigerous cysts.
- There are other few jaw cysts developing from cells that form teeth, known as odontogenic cysts.
How are Jaw Cysts Diagnosed?
Jaw cysts grow very slowly and in the vast majority of cases patients do not have any symptoms. They are often discovered as an incidental finding when x-rays are taken to look for other things. But, if the cyst becomes infected they can become painful.
Following an examination and x-rays, the surgeon will be able to establish accurate diagnosis with CBCT scan which gives a 3-D view and aids the surgery.
How are Jaw Cysts Treated?
The treatment for cysts is to remove them. This is done by a small incision inside the mouth and removal of part of the bonein majority of the cases. But sometimes, due to the size or location of the cyst, incision may have to made outside the mouth too. Occasionally when cysts are very large it may be possible to treat them by surgical decompression.
Following the surgery the cyst is sent to a specialist pathologist for examination under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
What type of anaesthetic will be used?
Depending on the size & location of the cyst, as well as, taking into account your general health and your previous experiences of having dental treatment local or general anesthesia maybe administered.
Recovery from your procedure
- You should expect some discomfort initially. There may be some facial swelling, bruising, pain or jaw stiffness for up to two weeks. These symptoms are usually at their worst for the first two or three days and then gradually improve.
- To begin with, you should eat soft foods, gradually returning to your usual diet once your jaw feels more comfortable.
Benign Jaw Tumors
A tumor is an abnormal and uncontrolled growth of cells which are normally present in the body. Benign tumors not a cancerous growths and are not life threatening. These behave like jaw cysts ( but are solid growths) in most aspects. Around the face and mouth they can develop under the skin, under the mouth lining, within the saliva glands, and within the jawbones.
Although they are usually not life threatening, they can be quite aggressive and destructive locally. So if left untreated, they have the potential to cause permanent disfigurement or disability.
Treatment aspects broadly follow the same pattern as the Jaw Cysts.