The development of any lumps on your gums will require a trip to your dentist. While your dentist will perform a comprehensive assessment of the protrusion, the origins of the growth can often be traced back to the state of your teeth. When there's decay or periodontal disease that has permitted bacteria to invade your dental pulp, this lump can be a dental abscess. This infection is typically painful, and the lump is generally soft, as it's filled with pus. When the protrusion is more solid and is more uncomfortable than painful, you might be dealing with a dental cyst.
Dental cysts (or periapical cysts, to use the proper term) can cause discomfort, which can lead to pain if the cyst becomes infected. Additionally, the expansion of the cyst can compress surrounding tissues and can result in bone resorption (due to their proximity to your alveolar ridge and jaw). Your degree of discomfort will also be influenced by the classification of the cyst.
Types of Cyst
Some periapical cysts are self-contained, with the cyst enclosed in its lining. There are also pocket cysts, which is when the lining has small openings that feed into the root canal of a tooth. This root canal contains the pulp chamber, which is where the tooth's nerve is found. This interaction between the cyst and the tooth's nerve can trigger discomfort. Treating a periapical cyst will depend on its classification and size.
Root Canal Treatment
A pocket cyst can sometimes be treated with root canal treatment. This removes the inflamed and infected nerve inside the tooth, which will eliminate a key source of discomfort. What remains of the pocket cyst may be too clinically insignificant to warrant further treatment (but this varies). Self-contained cysts will need a different form of treatment.
Removal or Drainage
Larger cysts will be surgically removed in their entirety. The site of extraction will be sutured, and will then heal. This also stops any bone resorption. Smaller cysts sometimes don't need to be removed, although they must be neutralised. This can be achieved by a process known as marsupialisation, which is when the cyst is opened and allowed to drain. The relatively small size of the cyst means that the empty lining should not cause any further problems.
Dental cysts can cause an array of further problems if they're not treated, although any growth on your gums should be professionally assessed so they can be properly identified.Share
6 May 2021
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.