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Jaw Cysts

What Type of Jaw Cyst Requires A Surgery?

Imagine waking up one morning to find an unexplained swelling in your jaw, or experiencing a sudden discomfort when chewing your favourite meal. These could be signs of a jaw cyst, a surprisingly common yet often overlooked dental issue that can silently wreak havoc on your oral health. 

Jaw cysts can cause a range of problems if not promptly identified and treated. From subtle symptoms to potential complications, understanding jaw cysts is crucial for anyone looking to maintain a healthy smile. 

This article explores the different types of jaw cysts, their symptoms, the importance of timely intervention, and what jaw cyst removal surgery involves. 

What is a jaw cyst?

A jaw cyst is a pathological cavity in the jawbone that is typically filled with fluid, semi-fluid or gaseous material. It is generally classified based on its origin: odontogenic, which is related to tooth development, and non-odontogenic, which arises from non-tooth-related tissues. 

While jaw cysts are usually benign, they can cause infection, tooth displacement and damage to the jawbone when left untreated.

Odontogenic cysts

Odontogenic cysts are the most common type of jaw cyst and are associated with the developmental processes of teeth. They originate from tissues involved in tooth formation and can occur at various stages of dental development.

  1. Radicular cysts: These are the most common types of jaw cysts and are usually found at the roots of teeth that have died. They often form because of untreated cavities or injuries to the teeth that cause the inner part, known as the pulp, to die. This can lead to an infection around the tooth root, resulting in a cyst.
  2. Dentigerous cysts: Also known as follicular cysts, these form around the crown of an unerupted or developing tooth, most commonly the lower third molars (wisdom teeth) or upper canines. They arise due to fluid accumulation between the crown and the surrounding dental follicle.
  3. Odontogenic keratocysts (OKC): These are potentially aggressive cysts that can recur after treatment. OKCs originate from the dental lamina and are often associated with the jaw’s posterior regions. They are significant because of their potential to cause extensive bone damage.

Non-odontogenic cysts

Non-odontogenic cysts are less common and arise from tissues unrelated to tooth development. They are typically classified into several types based on their origin:

  1. Nasopalatine duct cysts: These cysts occur in the nasopalatine canal, a small channel that extends from the floor of the nasal cavity to the palate. They are the most common non-odontogenic cysts and usually present as a swelling in the anterior palate.
  2. Globulomaxillary cysts: These are located between the roots of the lateral incisors and canines. 
  3. Aneurysmal bone cysts: These cysts are blood-filled and can expand, leading to bone destruction. They are believed to arise from vascular malformations within the bone.

Symptoms of jaw cysts

The symptoms of jaw cysts can vary widely depending on the size and location of the cyst. Small cysts may remain asymptomatic and are often discovered incidentally during routine dental X-rays. However, larger cysts can cause noticeable symptoms, including:

  • Swelling: Visible or palpable swelling in the jaw or face, which may be painless or tender to the touch.
  • Pain: Persistent or intermittent pain in the affected area, which may worsen with chewing or pressure.
  • Tooth displacement: Teeth near the cyst may shift, become loose, or fail to erupt properly.
  • Infection: Cysts can become infected, leading to pain, swelling, and the formation of abscesses.
  • Difficulty opening the mouth: Large cysts can cause trismus, a condition where the jaw muscles spasm, making it difficult to open the mouth fully.

Jaw cyst removal

The treatment of jaw cysts typically involves surgical removal, which can be done through several methods depending on the cyst’s size, location, and type.

  1. Enucleation: This is the most common method, where the cyst is completely removed along with its lining. This procedure is often performed under local or general anesthesia and is suitable for smaller cysts.
  2. Marsupialization: This technique involves creating an opening in the cyst and suturing the edges to the surrounding mucosa. This allows the cyst to drain and shrink over time. It is typically used for larger cysts to reduce their size before complete removal.
  3. Curettage: After enucleation, the surrounding bone may be scraped to remove any remaining cystic tissue, especially in cases of potentially aggressive cysts like OKCs.
  4. Decompression: Similar to marsupialization, decompression involves inserting a small tube into the cyst to allow continuous drainage. This is often used for large cysts to relieve pressure and facilitate gradual shrinkage.

Risks and complications

While the removal of jaw cysts is generally safe, it does carry some risks and potential complications:

  • Infection: Post-operative infections can occur, leading to pain, swelling, and delayed healing.
  • Nerve damage: Surgery near the lower jaw can risk damaging the inferior alveolar nerve, potentially causing numbness or tingling in the lower lip and chin.
  • Recurrence: Certain types of cysts, particularly OKCs, have a higher risk of recurrence, necessitating long-term monitoring and follow-up.
  • Damage to adjacent structures: Removal of large cysts can lead to damage of adjacent teeth, bones, or soft tissues, potentially requiring additional treatments.

It is important to visit an established clinic to prevent and minimise such risks. An experienced doctor will factor your jaw structure and any dental conditions you might have before performing any procedure. 

When to see a dentist?

It is important to consult a dentist if you experience any symptoms associated with jaw cysts, such as unexplained swelling, persistent pain and noticeable changes in tooth position. Early detection and treatment can prevent complications and reduce the need for more invasive procedures.

Regular dental check-ups are crucial for identifying potential issues before they become symptomatic. Dentists can often detect jaw cysts through routine X-rays and other diagnostic tools, allowing for timely intervention.

Jaw cyst removal in Singapore

Understanding and managing jaw cysts is crucial for maintaining your oral health. With expert care from skilled oral and maxillofacial surgeons, you can address cysts effectively and ensure a smooth recovery. 

At Specialist Oral Surgeons our team, led by Dr Lim Kheng Ann, prioritises your comfort and care. Whether you’re experiencing jaw cyst symptoms, seeking preventive treatment or looking for jaw cyst removal surgery in Singapore, you can count on us to guide you through every step of your treatment journey. We’d be happy to discuss cost and any other queries you might have about jaw cyst removal.

Schedule your consultation today.

What Type of Jaw Cyst Requires A Surgery?

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