A dental cyst is one of the most common problems that result in patients seeking a dentist urgently, as it has the potential to cause sudden and unexpected pain in the affected area and can also spread to the jaw, gums and face.
Patients suffering from this type of dental pain are advised to make an appointment with their local NHS dentist as soon as possible because the cyst will need to be extracted to remove the infection and stop it from reaching any other parts of the mouth.
If it does get as far as losing the tooth, then it’s certainly time to make an appointment with Dental Holiday to replace the gap with a dental implant.
What is a dental cyst?
There are three different types of abscesses that we encounter regularly with patients:
- Gingival – also known as a peripheral cyst, tends to develop on the gums and does not directly affect the bone structure of the tooth.
- Periodontal – occurs when plaque has damaged the gum and eroded the teeth before creating pockets or gaps between the gums and teeth that allow an abscess to form.
- Periapical – possibly the most severe type of cyst, this usually develops as a result of an infection in the pulp of a single tooth, which can leave patients with little alternative but to extract the tooth involved.
What causes dental cysts?
Dental cysts are often caused by dental injury or trauma to the teeth, but the most common culprit is dental decay, leading to the formation of a cavity, which is usually the starting point of a tooth infection.
A build-up of plaque in the mouth – caused by a lack of cleaning and an unhealthy diet – usually reacts with sugars found in particular foods to form an acid that can gradually erode through the protective layer of enamel and dentin found on the surface, until the inner pulp is exposed.
You could certainly prevent the development of an abscess by maintaining an effective daily hygiene routine, which consists of brushing and flossing while improving your nutrition with more fruit and vegetables – something that could help you feel much healthier as well.
Plaque and bacteria usually build up on the teeth every day and are particularly hard to reach on the molars at the back of the mouth, try to visit your dental hygienist at least once every 6 months to get it removed.
How do I know if I have a tooth abscess?
Many people don’t even know that they have many cavities in their teeth. While this should encourage many to attend dental appointments more frequently, patients may not actually experience any actual pain until the hole reaches the inner pulp of the tooth – an area consisting of a collection of blood cells and nerve endings that keep the tooth alive.
You are also unlikely to feel anything when the cavity spreads through both protective layers of dentin and enamel that surround the vital substances within the mouth.
The pain caused by the development of a cyst usually arrives suddenly, with one of the most common descriptions given regarding the feeling being that it is not localised. Discomfort often spreads across the cheeks, jaw and face – while the surrounding gums may become sore and swollen.
As a result, many patients are of the exact tooth that is causing the issue, but this can be found by biting down on the affected area. Also, extensive decay can lead to the infected tooth becoming loose.
What should I do about it?
The type of dental treatment you will receive usually depends on the type of dental cyst that you have. Usually, a dentist drains the pus to relieve pain and pressure for those patients with peripheral or gingival abscesses.
Because there is space left inside the pocket between the gum and the tooth after removal, a simple course of antibiotics will not be enough to ensure the infection does not return.
For this reason, a dentist will clean the space where the abscess was previously located to remove any remnants of decay or other debris. Following this, the tooth will be reshaped to smooth the surfaces, while dentists may be able to encourage the gum to grow back around the roots of the tooth to close gaps where plaque can enter.
The treatment for a periapical abscess – which is formed due to an infection inside the pulp of the tooth – is even more complex than the other forms, with an initial digital OPG X-ray required to identify its exact location. A root canal procedure will then be carried out after the cyst is identified.
Root canal treatment summary: During this procedure, the outer shell of the tooth is preserved following an infection so it does not need to be completely extracted. A hole is drilled inside the tooth to clean away any infected substances that remain inside, which will are then scraped out through the root.
Although the area is effectively “dead” – due to the removal of its blood supply and nerves – many patients go for this option because it means they are able to continue to smile confidently, without the fear of any gaps between the teeth.
Can a dental cyst return?
Patients who visit their dentist regularly will find they are able to monitor their dental health more effectively and receive the appropriate dental treatment should any painful issues arise.
If the infection does return, a number of complications can arise that affect the teeth and gums. While the affected tooth may need to be removed, the ailment can spread from the tooth to the skin and cause discolouration and swelling, as well as soreness around the face.
The jawbone can also be affected by infection through the teeth, which can lead to the development of osteomyelitis which can result in issues with bone loss.