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Gum Cysts: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Posted in British Columbia, General, Orthodontics, Tips & Advice

Many people will have a soft, painless lump appear on their gums at some point during their lifetime. However, just because it's painless doesn't mean a bump on your gums isn't a cause for concern. Today, our BC orthodontists share why a dental cyst may appear on your gums and why they should be examined by a dental professional. 

What is a dental cyst?

Dental cysts are closed-off cavities that are filled with semi-solid or liquid material. Cysts are most commonly seen in the soft tissues of the mouth and face such as the gums, lips, and even in the space surrounding a tooth that has not yet erupted. These growths are typically benign (noncancerous), but they can be aggressive and create problems for nearby bone & tissues.

A dental cyst usually appears as a small pocket in the gums or jawbone. They may be difficult to detect by the naked eye but can be seen through dental imaging such as X-rays. In some cases, a dental cyst may cause swelling or tenderness in the affected area. Even a soft, painless lump on the gums warrants an examination by your dentist.

How Dental Cysts on the Gums Develop

If you're wondering 'Why is there a lump on my gums?', you may have a dental cyst. A cyst or bump on the gums can occur for three main reasons. These reasons include:

Dead or dying teeth:

Dead tooth or dying teeth can cause dental cysts due to the accumulation of bacteria and infection in the tooth. When a tooth becomes decayed or infected, it can form an abscess, which is a pocket of pus. If left untreated, this infection can spread to the surrounding tissues and form an oral cyst.

Unusual tooth positions:

Unusual tooth positions cause dental cysts due to the pressure and misalignment they exert on surrounding tissues. This can lead to the formation of pockets or spaces where fluid accumulates, eventually forming a cyst.

Additionally, abnormal tooth positions can also make it difficult to properly clean the teeth and maintain oral hygiene, increasing the risk of infection and cyst development. 

Poor oral hygiene

Poor oral hygiene can lead to the formation of dental cysts due to the accumulation of plaque and bacteria on the teeth and gums. When oral hygiene is neglected, plaque builds up and hardens into tartar, which irritates the surrounding tissues and can cause infection.

Different Types of Cysts on Gums

Yes, there are. The different types of dental cysts include:

  • Mucocele cysts: Also called mucous cysts.
  • Periapical cysts are the most common type, Also called odontogenic cysts.
  • Dentigerous cysts: These are most common on the lower wisdom teeth and upper canines
  • Odontogenic tumours such as oral cancer: These may grow and will require a biopsy

Treating Dental Cysts

The three main kinds of treatment for dental cysts include:

Home care

Admittedly, this is more of a prevention tactic. However, maintaining good oral hygiene practices at home, such as regular brushing and flossing, can help prevent the development of dental cysts and promote overall oral health. 

Surgery (surgical procedure)

Surgery is a common and effective method for treating dental cysts. The procedure involves removing the cyst (surgical removal of the cyst) and any surrounding infected tissue to prevent further complications.

Root canals

Root canals can treat dental cysts by removing the infected pulp and nerves from the tooth. This procedure helps eliminate the source of infection and prevents further damage to the surrounding tissues.

Will a dental cyst go away without treatment?

In some cases, dental cysts may resolve on their own without the need for treatment. However, it is important to note that this is not always the case, so a cyst should not be ignored. Seeking professional dental care is always recommended to ensure the cyst is effectively diagnosed and appropriately treated. 

Is a lump on your gums causing unusual tooth positions? Contact our orthodontists at My ORTHODONTIST today to learn how we can help straighten your teeth.

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