Like regular cysts, dental cysts are sacs of fluid or other soft materials that build up underneath tissue around the teeth. Also like regular cysts, many dental cysts are benign and are cause for little concern. They can, however, become infected or start to affect the teeth surrounding it, so you should check with your dentist to be sure that your cyst doesn't become a dental nightmare.
Often referred to as dentigerous cysts, dental cysts tend to form when teeth and the nerves attached to them die. They most often form on a dead tooth's root. That tooth could be just a normal, fully grown tooth or a buried or impacted tooth.
Dental cysts can become infected, which can create pain and swelling in the mouth. They may also push up against nearby teeth, which can cause the teeth to shift slightly or become sensitive. Cysts can also cause your jaw to weaken as they can take over where bony tissue has died. If left untreated, a cyst can sometimes interrupt a normal mouth's function.
A dentist will usually identify a dental cyst when he takes an x-ray of your mouth, jaw or teeth. You may also feel as though you have a cyst if you can feel a small, movable lump just below your mouth's surface. You should see your dentist, however, to be sure that it is a cyst.
The best way to prevent a cyst from forming is to visit your dentist twice a year for regular checkups. This will allow your dentist to keep an eye on your mouth and observe any abnormalities or changes in your teeth. Root canals can prevent dental cysts from forming by filling in the space around a dead nerve after it has been removed. This is an effective preventive measure because dental cysts often form near or on top of dead nerves, which typically occur from decay, infection or an injury to the mouth.
Sometimes dental cysts need to be removed. Minor surgery is typically the best option to remove cysts. The surgery consists of a dental surgeon injecting a local anesthetic to the cyst's site and removing the cyst's tissue or sac.