A dental cyst is a common problem resulting in patients needing to see a Oral Surgeon urgently. Infected cysts have the potential to cause sudden and unexpected pain. Also, jaw cysts can silently and painlessly grow to a very a large size. They can destroy a lot of jaw bone which increases the risk of jaw fracture.
What is a dental cyst?
A cyst is a closed sac which can contain air, fluids, or semi-solid material. A collection of pus is called an abscess. Once formed, a cyst will have to be removed through a surgical procedure called cyst enucleation which can be carried out under local anaesthesia by a Specialist Oral Surgeon.
Problems caused by dental cysts
- The dental cyst will occupy a space in the jaw and may displace or replace normal tissues.
- Dental cysts may resorb (eat into) adjacent teeth or push the teeth out of their normal alignment.
- Cysts may cause expansion of the jaw bone, usually painlessly.
- Cysts may compress nerves and cause facial numbness.
Types of dental cysts
- Periapical cysts – This type of cyst occurs around the root apex of a tooth usually as a result of infection within that tooth. The tooth will need root canal treatment or tooth extraction.
- Dentigerous cysts – This cyst occurs around unerupted teeth such as wisdom teeth that have not yet come through. A dentigerous cyst around a wisdom tooth usually needs to be removed along with a wisdom tooth extraction.
- Lateral Periodontal cysts – This is a developmental cyst that is usually discovered on X-rays taken by dentists and typically does not cause any pain but causes bone loss.
- Residual cyst – This cyst is a periapical cyst that persists after a tooth is extracted and is treated by surgical removal.
- Eruption cyst – This cyst usually affects children and occurs when a tooth erupts through the bone and tries to come through the gum too but does not quite manage to.
What are the causes of dental cysts?
Dental cysts can be caused by dental injury or trauma. However, the most common cause is dental decay that leads to the formation of a cavity that can progress if not treated.
What happens when a cyst gets infected
When a cyst becomes infected, a dental abscess forms which can be very painful.
The pain caused by the infection of a cyst usually arrives suddenly, with one of the most common descriptions given regarding the feeling is that its localised to a certain tooth or region in the mouth. Discomfort often spreads across the cheeks, jaw and face – while the surrounding gums may become sore and swollen.
What course of action should I take for an dental cyst?
The type of treatment patients will receive usually depends on the type of cyst they have. Usually, an emergency dentist drains the fluid from an infected cyst. The area will also be cleaned and antibiotics given.
Can a dental cyst return?
If the infection does return, a number of complications can arise that affect the teeth and gums. While the affected teeth may need to be removed, the infection can spread from the tooth to the skin. This can cause discolouration, swelling, and soreness in the face.
The jawbone can also be affected by infection. This can lead to the development of osteomyelitis. The condition is a debilitating illness that can cause severe pain – with urgent hospital treatment often required.