Oral surgery II: Part 3. Cysts of the mouth and jaws and their management

Key Points

  • Cysts of the oral region occur commonly owing to the mouth's complex embryonic origins and frequency of inflammation.

  • The classification of cysts has been amended several times and some of the terminology can appear confusing.

  • Presents simple strategies to optimise the management of oral cysts.


A cyst may be defined as a pathological (or abnormal) body cavity, usually lined by epithelium, which contains fluid (gas or liquid) or semi-solid substances other than (primarily) pus. Even this definition is contentious, as some pathologists prefer the term pseudocyst or cavity1 when there is no epithelial lining. However, the above definition, based on that of Kramer,2 is as inclusive as possible. Cysts of the mouth and jaws are fairly common and their management is an essential component of oral surgery. This third article in the series deals with the classification, diagnosis and management of the common cysts of the head and neck.

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Figure 1: (a) Sectional DPT illustrating a double or multilocular radiolucency associated with a root-canal-treated lower right canine and the crowned, vital lower right 4.
Figure 2
Figure 3: Dentigerous cyst.
Figure 4: (a) Keratocyst.
Figure 5
Figure 6: Ameloblastoma.
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9: Anterior mandible radicular cyst.
Figure 10: Maxillary left quadrant radicular cyst.
Figure 11: Asymptomatic large dentigerous cyst of the left mandibular third molar.
Figure 12


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Hill, C., Renton, T. Oral surgery II: Part 3. Cysts of the mouth and jaws and their management. Br Dent J 223, 573–584 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.916

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