Surgical Intervention for Jaw Cysts Types & Procedures

Surgical Intervention for Jaw Cysts: Types & Procedures

You may be familiar with the word cysts, which are fluid-filled pouches that can develop anywhere in the body. Jaw cysts are the ones that occur on the upper or lower jaws, under the tongue, or even in the cheek. These cysts are usually non-cancerous and may be asymptomatic, but sometimes, they can cause pain and discomfort, disrupting your peaceful life and day-to-day routines.

If you experience symptoms like persistent numbness, jaw pain, or swelling, don’t hesitate to visit your physician, who will recommend you to a reputed maxillofacial surgeon. Only experienced surgeons have the skills and knowledge to diagnose and identify the cause of your jaw cyst and suggest the most appropriate treatment.

Most people have baseless fears regarding jaw cysts that prevent them from getting treated by a maxillofacial surgeon. This article aims to remove these apprehensions about the surgical removal procedure of jaw cysts and also shed light on the different techniques used.

Knowing The Different Types Of Jaw Cysts

There are two broad categories that Jaw cysts fall into:

  1. Odontogenic: These are the cysts that develop in cells that help in tooth development
  2. Non-odontogenic: These arise from non-tooth-forming tissues

Let us know the most common jaw cyst types:

  1. Ameloblastoma: It is a benign odontogenic tumour that generally develops in the jaw bone.
    Symptoms: They often cause no symptoms, but sometimes you may experience pain or notice a lump or swelling in the jaw.
  2. Dentigerous cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that develop in the jaw bone over a non-erupted tooth. Symptoms: The signs of dentigerous cysts include swelling, tooth sensitivity, tooth displacement, or a gap between displaced teeth.
  3. Central giant granulomas: They are benign, non-odontogenic lesions of the jaw that are found commonly in the front portion of the lower jaw. Symptoms: Painless swelling is the most common sign of this disorder.
  4. Radicular cysts: These are inflammatory jaw cysts, the most common among cysts, caused by traumatic injuries to the primary teeth. Symptoms: They are mostly asymptomatic unless there is a secondary infection.

The Most Effective Option – Surgical Treatment for Jaw Cysts

The most effective treatment for most types of jaw cysts is surgical removal. Though medicines are part of the treatment process, they are insufficient to treat cysts completely. The treatment is effective only when the cyst’s contents and lining are removed surgically. 

The surgeon sends the cyst’s contents for microscopic examination to know what type of cyst it is. In some cases, teeth removal or reconstruction of the jaw bone may be necessary.

Remember that surgical treatment of jaw cysts is an absolutely safe procedure when performed by experienced maxillofacial surgeons. Though most jaw cysts are non-cancerous, they still need to be treated promptly and carefully as they can go on to destroy a large amount of your bone, leading to jaw bone fracture and tooth loss.

When done carefully under aseptic conditions, jaw cyst surgery is a safe procedure with minimal chances of complications. 

How Surgeons Diagnose Jaw Cysts 

The first step of your maxillofacial surgeon will be to review your personal and family history and conduct a physical examination. The surgeon will understand your symptoms and, if needed, will prescribe tests like:

  • X-ray
  • Blood test
  • CT scan, and
  • PET or MRI if needed

Based on the reports of the tests, the surgeon will judge the severity of your jaw cyst, its location, and its type. 

The Removal Process for Jaw Cysts

Before starting the removal, the surgeon will numb the relevant areas with a local anesthetic so that you do not feel any pain during the entire duration of the surgery. If needed, you may require general anaesthesia or IV sedation, considering your concerns and individualized treatment plan.  

Cyst Enucleation: Surgeons use this procedure for small cysts not involving vital areas like nerves. The cysts are totally removed in one go. It includes lifting the soft tissue of gum over the cyst, and if necessary, the surgeons access the cyst by creating a space through the jaw bone. Any teeth involved need extraction.

Once removed or enucleated, the surgeon thoroughly cleans the remaining cavity, and a watertight closure is done. The duration of the procedure is usually around 45 to 90 minutes. In some cases, the removed cyst will be sent to the pathologist for a microscopic examination to determine its nature. 

In some cases, the patient may need a bone graft to fill the void created by the cyst,

Post-Surgery Care And Pain Relief

Cyst cavities usually take six to 12 months to recover fully and be replaced with a healthy bone. However, once your gums have healed within a few weeks, the cyst cavity will no longer bother you.

It is normal to experience pain, swelling, and temporary bruising after the procedure. Even slight bleeding inside your mouth is normal on the first day after surgery. Putting pressure on the area with a gauze wipe usually stops this. 

Your surgeon will probably prescribe pain medication to reduce your discomfort. Swelling and jaw stiffness may continue for two days but will gradually reduce.

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