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Cysts are the most common cause of chronic swellings of the jaws. A cyst comprises a wall of fibrous tissue and a central lumen, or space, lined by epithelium.

A cyst is defined as an epithelial-lined pathologic cavity.

 Cysts of the maxilla, mandible, and perioral regions

Odontogenic Cysts

Periapical (Radicular) Cyst

Lateral Periodontal Cyst

Gingival Cyst of the Newborn

Dentigerous Cyst

Eruption Cyst

Glandular Odontogenic Cyst

Odontogenic Keratocyst/Keratocystic Odontogenic Tumor

Calcifying Odontogenic Cyst (Calcifying Cystic Odontogenic Tumor)


Nonodontogenic Cysts



Globulomaxillary Cyst/Lesion

Nasolabial Cyst

Median Mandibular Cyst

Nasopalatine Duct (Incisive) Canal Cyst


 Pseudocysts without  epithelial lining.



Aneurysmal Bone Cyst

Traumatic (Simple) Bone Cyst

Static Bone Cyst (Stafne’s Bone Defect)

Focal Osteoporotic Bone Marrow Defect

Soft Tissue Cysts of the Neck



Branchial Cyst/Cervical Lymphoepithelial Cyst

Dermoid Cyst

Thyroglossal Tract Cyst


Key features of jaw cysts


 Form sharply-defined radiolucencies with corticated smooth borders

 Aspiration can confirm fluid contents, excluding a solid lesion

Cysts close to the mucosal surface may be transilluminated and appear bluish

Grow slowly, displacing rather than resorbing teeth

Symptomless unless infected and frequently chance radiographic findings

Rarely large enough to cause pathological fracture

 Form compressible and fluctuant swellings if extending into soft tissues

Enucleation and primary closure

Marsupialisation: Marsupialisation, or decompression, for very large cysts/ odontogenic keratocysts.


  • Shrinkage before enucleation
  • may allow preservation of teeth
  • reduce the operative risk to inferior dental nerve
  • reduce the risk of mandibular fracture
  • Shrinkage allows easier enucleation of residual cyst
  • Enucleation may not be possible in a compromised patient




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