Cysts are cavities in bone that may gradually increase in size and thus weaken the jaw. They usually grow slowly but steadily.
Removing cysts in the jaw region
Cysts in the jaw region are cavities in the bone. They are lined by a thin tissue layer called the cyst membrane, which generally encapsulates a fluid. Cysts grow slowly, passively and without causing pain. They are therefore usually diagnosed as incidental findings on X-ray images. A larger cyst may manifest as a swelling; there is a risk of the cyst becoming infected or of fracture of the mandible. In the upper jaw, a cyst may communicate with the maxillary sinus, resulting in chronic clinical problems with this sinus becoming apparent (sinusitis or sinusitis like symptoms).
Cysts can have different causes. They may result from residual embryonic tissue of the tooth buds or from inflammatory stimuli. Most cysts are benign. However, they may be malignant or, in rare cases, degenerate and become malignant.
Therefore, following appropriate clinical and radiological diagnostic procedures, the cyst and the triggering factor (such as an unerupted tooth) should be surgically removed. Additionally, the cystic tissue should be properly classified by histological examination so that, if necessary, further therapeutic measures can be instituted. Where larger cysts occur, the cavity should be filled with autologous (i.e. the patient’s own) bone material – from the jaw region or the pelvic bone, for example – to accelerate healing of the bone and to improve the bone situation for dental rehabilitation e.g. by dental implants.
Depending on the size and localisation of the cyst, this procedure can be carried out under local anaesthetic, under sedation or under general anaesthetic. Where the operation is more extensive, the patient requires an inpatient stay and professional monitoring.
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