All You Need To Know About Jaw Cysts and Treatment Options

All You Need To Know About Jaw Cysts and Treatment Options

Are you experiencing persistent jaw pain and swelling that is not getting better with home remedies?

Don’t brush off these signs lightly. They could be signs of something more serious, like jaw cysts or tumours. While not common, these conditions can have a significant impact on your health. Many types of such cysts are found on the jaw, most of which are non-cancerous. However, even if they are benign cysts, they can cause issues like:

  • Loose teeth
  • Mouth opening and closing difficulty
  • Jaw pain 

Jaw Cysts and Treatment Options

The moment you notice any of these symptoms, visit your doctor, who will recommend you to an experienced maxillofacial surgeon with the expertise to treat such cysts.

Let us now first understand more about cysts, which are the common types.

What Are Jaw Cysts?

Cysts on the jaw are sacs containing liquid or air that form on the jaw. They are treatable successfully if detected early, but if neglected, they can be aggressive and problematic and display or destroy the neighbouring tissue or teeth. 

Cysts are broadly classified as:

  • Odontogenic: They develop in cells responsible for tooth development
  • Nonodontogenic: They don’t develop in cells responsible for the development of tooth

Common Types Of Jaw Cysts

Below are listed the most common types of cysts and tumours

  1. Dentigerous cysts: These are the most common cysts originating in the teeth, which form over unerupted or partially erupted teeth. Typically, they develop over the upper canines or wisdom teeth.
  2. Ameloblastoma: These are rare tumours that are non-cancerous that usually develop in your jaw near the molars.
  3. Odontomas: These common tumours look like abnormally shaped teeth and are non-cancerous. They may even be asymptomatic. 
  4. Central giant granulomas: They are non-cancerous but are tumours that are of the aggressive nonodontogenic type. They grow from bone cells and occur commonly in the lower jaw’s front portion.
  5. Osteosarcoma: It is a cancerous tumour that is the most common among bone cancers.

What Causes Jaw Cysts?

The cause of jaw cysts cannot be zeroed down to one reason, but some of them are linked to gene changes or genetic syndromes. Odontogenic jaw cysts, for example, are known to come from cells and tissues that are related to normal tooth development. However, there are other cysts that can originate from tissues unrelated to tooth development, such as bone or soft tissue cells. The risk factors for osteosarcoma causes can include any previous radiation therapy or inherited conditions like Li-Fraumeni syndrome. Tobacco consumption is another common cause of cysts.  

Symptoms Commonly Associated With Jaw Cysts

Cysts are associated with different types of symptoms, some of which can include:

Symptoms Commonly Associated With Jaw Cysts

  • Mouth ulcers
  • Numbness
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Red and white patches

Treatment Of Jaw Cysts 

If you have any of these symptoms, your doctor will refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon who will begin your diagnosis with a physical exam and review your personal and family medical history. The surgeon will suggest tests like X-ray, CT scan, PET scan, or MRI and blood tests.

Based on the reports received, the maxillofacial surgeon will put together the best treatment plan for treating your jaw cyst. 

The treatment will depend on the type of jaw cyst you have, the stage of growth, and the severity of the symptoms. The surgeon will also consider your treatment goals and personal preferences when making a recommendation.

Treatment for jaw cysts generally may include a combination of surgery and medical therapy.

Surgery for Jaw Cysts and Tumours

Surgery generally involves removing the cyst, along with removing the nearby teeth, tissue, and jawbone. It may be followed by other treatments like reconstructing the jawbone and other structures. 

Maxillfacial surgeons typically perform these procedures to treat jaw cysts:

  • Excision: The cyst is completely removed and is accompanied by the removal of part of the neighbouring bone. The surgeon will then rebuild the damaged jaw bone.
  • Resection (Partial mandibulectomy): It involves total removal of the cyst together with a portion of the jaw. It is the procedure followed in the case of aggressive lesions to ensure the full removal of abnormal tissues. This is done under general anesthesia. 

In some cases, additional procedures apart from cyst removal may be needed:

  • Dentigerous cysts: Extraction of the tooth connected with the cyst followed by cyst removal. 
  • Ambleoblastoma: They are usually removed surgically and may also include radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Supportive care will be needed for people who undergo surgery to maintain quality of life, including assistance for speech and swallowing, nutrition, and getting replacements for the missing teeth.

The outlook for people with jaw cysts depends on the age of the afflicted person, the size of the cyst or tumour, and its spread to other body parts.

It is crucial to prioritize long-term follow-ups with your maxillofacial surgeon after treatment to address any recurrence of jaw cysts. If identified in the early stages, recurring cysts can be treated appropriately.


Jaw cysts are mostly non-cancerous but can still be troublesome if ignored and allowed to grow larger. Schedule an appointment with your maxillofacial surgeon as soon as you notice abnormal growths in your mouth, whether small or big, to avoid complications. 

 At Gnathos Facial, our maxillofacial surgeons and support staff always place the comfort of the patient over everything else to ensure the best outcomes. We have the expertise, infrastructure, and the latest equipment to conduct all types of surgical procedures to treat different jaw cysts. Meet us for an initial consultation and receive the best possible treatment options for your jaw cyst.

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