Different Types of Jaw Cysts Exploring the Varieties and Their Characteristics

Different Types of Jaw Cysts: Exploring the Varieties and Their Characteristics

Many of us are quite casual about swelling of the gum around the teeth. However, these swellings could be cysts that can grow in a variety of areas throughout the body. They can form under the skin, beneath the mouth lining, within the jawbones of the face and mouth, and the salivary glands. Jaw cysts are pathological cavities filled with fluid, semi-fluid, or gas. Epithelial tissue covers these either entirely or partially and is not the result of pus accumulation.

Most people ignore cysts and neglect to treat them on time. However, you need to remember that while most of these cysts are benign, some can turn out to be aggressive and even destroy or displace the surrounding bone and tissue. It is advisable to get such cysts assessed and treated by an expert maxillofacial surgeon as soon as possible to avoid complications.

Primary Types of Jaw Cysts

There are two categories of Jaw cysts, which include:

  • Odontogenic cysts: Cysts that appear in the jaw during tooth development are known as odontogenic cysts. These develop from tissues involved in tooth development.
  • Non-odontogenic cysts: Cysts that develop from tissues not involved in tooth development are known as non-odontogenic cysts.

In this blog, let us learn more about the two groups of jaw cysts.

Characteristics Of The Different Types of Jaw Cysts

Odontogenic Cysts

Let us discuss the few common types of Odontogenic cysts and their characteristics.

Radicular cysts: 

Radicular cyst is the most frequently occurring inflammatory jaw cyst. 

Radicular cysts


  • It develops from epithelial remains of the periodontal ligament as an outcome of inflammation caused by pulp necrosis.
  • The resultant cyst usually affects the apex of the impacted tooth.
  • When the cyst develops, there may be apparent inflammation in the buccal sulcus near the causative tooth.
  • This bulge frequently has eggshell-like qualities, which means that if you apply pressure, a cracking feeling may occur.
  • If you experience excessive swelling, tooth displacement or movement may become apparent.

Dentigerous cysts: 

Dentigerous cysts are sometimes known as follicular cysts. It occurs when fluid accumulates at the topmost layer of an unerupted tooth, typically over the canines or molars.


  • Follicular cysts grow continuously.
  • They are most frequent in the second and fourth decades of life. However, they are unusual in childhood since they only appear in the secondary dentition.
  • Dentigerous cysts are not dangerous, but if you do not treat them at the right time, they might cause serious consequences such as infections, jaw fracture, tooth loss, etc.
  • They most commonly appear over your upper canines or wisdom teeth.

Odontogenic Keratocyst: 

The odontogenic keratocyst (OKC) is a mysterious developing cyst that requires careful attention. What makes this cyst unique? It stands out because of its high recurrence rate and aggressive behaviour.


  • Odontogenic keratocysts are usually visible in the mandible, particularly near the angle. They are frequently asymptomatic until they grow to a large size or become infectious, like other cysts.
  • Sometimes, swelling occurs, but fewer people experience it with odontogenic keratocysts. Individuals with bucco-lingual swelling frequently have an underlying cyst.
  • When you inhale the cyst contents, a white fluid is visible, indicating the presence of keratin.

Non-Odontogenic Cysts

Let us discuss the few common types of non-odontogenic cysts and their characteristics.

Nasopalatine Duct Cyst: 

The other name for Nasopalatine duct cysts is incisive canal cysts. These emerge from embryogenic remains of the nasopalatine duct, which connects the anterior maxilla and nasal cavity, in the growing fetus. Most of these cysts form in the centre of the front maxilla, around the incisive foramen.


  • It happens to be the most common non-odontogenic cyst in the oral cavity.
  • People aged 30 to 60 usually experience this disease.
  • These cysts often cause inflammation in the front and midline palate.
  • If the cyst is large, there may be an ache or discharge along with tooth movement/displacement.

Nasolabial Cyst: 

Nasolabial cysts, commonly known as nasoalveolar cysts. It is an uncommon non-odontogenic disease that affects the maxillofacial region.


  • They are usually seen in the nasoalveolar region, sideways to the ala of the nose.
  • These are unusual developing cysts with a small number of reports.
  • They are usually painless and often overlooked by the patient until they enlarge and cause cosmetic abnormalities.
  • Swelling is frequently the only clinical sign, primarily affecting the lip and nasolabial fold. If extremely large, there may be some nasal blockage.

Solitary Bone Cyst: 

A solitary bone cyst is a small, benign hollow in bone that is either vacant or filled with fluid. It is known by many other names, many of which incorrectly suggest the presence of epithelium.

Solitary Bone Cyst

The names include the following:

  • Traumatic bone cyst,
  • Traumatic bone cavity, 
  • Simple bone cyst,
  • Idiopathic bone cyst,
  • Hemorrhagic bone cyst.

The origin is uncertain, but possible explanations range from trauma to developmental. 


  • Solitary bone cysts usually occur in the jaw, particularly in the premolar region. Almost all maxillary cases appear anteriorly.
  • These are usually asymptomatic and appear as an accidental observation on radiography. If these are exceptionally large, they can cause swelling, discomfort, or paraesthesia.

Aneurysmal Bone Cyst: 

Aneurysmal bone cysts are non-cancerous vascular lesions that resemble tumours and contain blood-filled channels.


  • Although they can appear in any bone, they are most frequent in the vertebrae, femur, and tibia.
  • Their spread can cause pain, inflammation, and disturbance of joints and growth plates.
  • They are more prevalent in pediatric patients and can result in serious problems, especially if they involve the bone’s development plate.
  • They may expand aggressively, cause local damage, and weaken bones to the extent of pathological fracture.


The majority of jaw cysts are not malignant but can cause difficulties if they grow large. For most jaw cysts, surgical treatment is needed, along with the complete removal of the cyst lining and fluids.

At Gnathos Facial, our qualified Maxillofacial surgeons use modern technologies to offer the best dental treatments in a comfortable environment. Our pre-and post-operative advice and care will help you recover faster. Schedule an appointment to get a complete assessment of your jaw cysts and the most suitable treatment plan. 

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