Jaw Cysts

Jaw Cysts

Jaw cysts are fluid-filled sacs within the jawbone or soft tissues of the jaw caused by various factors like dental infections, trauma, or genetic predisposition. They can range from asymptomatic to causing swelling, pain, dental misalignment, or recurrent infections. Prompt diagnosis through dental examinations and imaging is essential, as untreated cysts can lead to complications like bone destruction or nerve damage.

Depending on the cyst's size and severity, treatment options include observation, dental extraction, surgical removal, or medication. Regular dental check-ups by our oral surgeon in Huntersville, NC, and early intervention are critical to prevent complications and maintain oral health. 

The Causes of Jaw Cysts 

  • Infections in the teeth or gums can lead to the formation of cysts, particularly radicular cysts. Bacterial invasion of the dental pulp or periodontal tissues can trigger inflammatory responses, leading to cyst formation. 
  • Some jaw cysts, such as dentigerous cysts, may result from abnormalities during tooth development. These cysts form around the crown of an unerupted tooth and are often associated with impacted wisdom teeth. 
  • Physical trauma to the jawbone or soft tissues can sometimes trigger the formation of cysts. Fractures, blows to the face, or other injuries can disrupt normal tissue development and healing processes, leading to cyst formation. 
  • Certain genetic conditions may predispose individuals to developing jaw cysts. These conditions can affect the development or function of the teeth, gums, or jawbone, increasing the risk of cyst formation. 
  • Chronic irritation or inflammation in the jawbone or surrounding tissues can contribute to cyst formation. Factors such as poor oral hygiene, smoking, or underlying medical conditions can perpetuate inflammation, leading to cyst development over time. Contact us today to learn more! 

The Symptoms of Jaw Cysts 

Swelling and Facial Deformity 

One of the hallmark symptoms of jaw cysts is swelling in the affected area of the jaw. This swelling may be localized or diffuse, depending on the size and location of the cyst. In some cases, the swelling may cause visible deformities or asymmetry in the facial structure, mainly if the cyst grows large enough to displace surrounding tissues or bone.

Patients may notice a bulging or protrusion in the jawline, cheek, or palate, prompting them to seek medical attention for further evaluation. 

Pain and Discomfort 

While many jaw cysts are painless, some individuals may experience discomfort or tenderness in the affected area, especially if the cyst becomes infected or inflamed. The pain may be dull, throbbing, or sharp, varying in intensity depending on the underlying cause and severity of the cyst.

Patients may report pain while chewing, biting, or applying pressure to the jaw, leading to functional limitations and decreased quality of life. Persistent or recurrent pain should prompt further investigation to rule out underlying pathology and initiate appropriate treatment. 

Changes in Dental Alignment 

Jaw cysts can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, leading to dental alignment or occlusion changes. Patients may notice crowding, spacing, or shifting of teeth in the affected area, potentially altering their bite or smile aesthetics. In some cases, the cyst may cause teeth to become loose or mobile, increasing the risk of tooth loss if left untreated.

Our oral surgeons at The Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants may detect these changes during routine dental examinations or through diagnostic imaging studies such as dental X-rays or cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), highlighting the importance of regular dental check-ups for early detection and intervention. 

Numbness or Tingling Sensations 

Jaw cysts located near nerves or sensory structures may cause numbness, tingling, or altered sensation in the surrounding tissues. Patients may experience numbness in the jaw, lips, chin, or tongue, which can be concerning and impact daily activities such as speaking, eating, or oral hygiene practices.

These sensory disturbances may be transient or persistent, depending on the extent of nerve involvement and the duration of cystic compression. Prompt evaluation by a healthcare professional is essential to assess nerve function and determine the appropriate course of action to alleviate symptoms and prevent further complications. 

Treatment Options for Jaw Cysts 

Dental Extraction 

  • If the jaw cyst is associated with an impacted or non-restorable tooth, dental extraction may be necessary to remove the source of the cyst. 
  • Our oral surgeon may surgically remove the affected tooth and associated cyst under local or general anesthesia. 
  • Extraction of the tooth and cyst is typically followed by thorough debridement of the surrounding tissues to remove any remaining cystic remnants and promote healing. 

Surgical Excision 

  • For larger or symptomatic jaw cysts that cannot be managed conservatively, surgical excision may be recommended to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications, and minimize the risk of recurrence. 
  • Surgical excision of the cyst involves removing the entire cystic lesion and any surrounding bone or soft tissue affected by the cyst. 
  • Depending on the cyst's size, location, and characteristics, the procedure may be performed using a minimally invasive approach, such as enucleation or marsupialization. 

Root Canal Therapy 

  • In cases where the jaw cyst is associated with an infected tooth, root canal therapy may be indicated to remove the source of infection and prevent recurrence. 
  • Endodontic treatment in Huntersville, NC, aims to disinfect the root canal system, remove necrotic tissue, and seal the canal to prevent reinfection and promote healing. 
  • Root canal therapy may be performed before or after surgical intervention, depending on the extent of the infection and the cyst's response to treatment. 

Adjunctive Therapies 

  • In some cases, adjunctive therapies such as guided bone regeneration, bone grafting, or tissue engineering techniques may be employed to enhance the outcome of surgical treatment and promote tissue regeneration. 
  • These techniques involve using biocompatible materials or growth factors to stimulate bone formation, restore lost tissue volume, and improve overall aesthetic and functional outcomes. 

Jaw cysts can present with diverse symptoms, ranging from swelling and pain to changes in dental alignment, sensory disturbances, and recurrent infections. Recognizing these signs is essential for early detection, prompt intervention, and optimal management of jaw cysts to prevent complications and preserve oral health. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above or suspect you may have a jaw cyst, visit The Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants at 9713 Northcross Center Court, Suite 100, Huntersville, NC 28078, or call (704) 875-8833 to receive timely care and guidance tailored to your individual needs.


9713 Northcross Center Court, Suite 100,
Huntersville, NC 28078

Fax: (704) 875-0303

Office Hours

MON - THU8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FRI8:00 am - 1:00 pm

SAT - SUNClosed