It is very common to experience a bump or lump on the gums from time to time. In many cases, the slightly raised, weird-feeling and bumpy ridge will be a fluid-filled sac, which dentists call gum cysts. The sensitive gum tissue can have all sorts of differences in texture, skin shape and colour. In most cases, gum cysts are sporadic, treatable and do not become a chronic condition.
Certain people can be susceptible to gum cysts and there are other several ways you can prevent them, such as by avoiding risk factors. If you have a gum cyst and would like to see a dentist in the Brighton and Hove area, or if you are looking for treatments as a nervous patient, please feel free to contact us and book an appointment at our superbly-equipped clinic.
What Causes Dental Cysts on Gums?
The cyst is a small pocket or accumulation of fluid material, so cysts can affect many areas of the mouth. Notably, the spaces around an infected tooth are problem areas – as bacteria can easily gather here. However, dental cysts can form in other areas of the gum tissue, palate or near and even on the inner lips too.
The most common causes of a cyst on the gums, lips and the roof of the mouth include the following:
- Dead or dying teeth: The teeth have a complex root structure and can occasionally die, such as if you have a lot of cavities. If you have a tooth that is dying or dead you will not have the protective outer layer of the enamel, so the progress of the tooth decay can expose the hard-to-reach soft tissues of the mouth to harmful bacteria.
- Unusual tooth positions: If you have a twisted tooth position this can easily lead to many types of cysts, and dental abscesses too. Wisdom teeth commonly come in, ‘erupt’, at an awkward angle, which makes it much more likely for a cyst to develop. In some cases, wisdom teeth require treatment or removal for the mouth to be comfortable.
- Poor oral hygiene: As a dental cyst is simply a fluid-filled sac that develops from the growth of bacteria, just failing to take care of your oral hygiene can increase the chances that a cyst will develop. The likelihood of cysts and many other dental problems is far lower when you brush twice a day and regularly floss.
Generally taking care of your teeth and gums will help you to avoid dental cysts. Prompt treatment for tooth infections and regular checkups will give you the best chance of avoiding a cyst, but sometimes they are unavoidable.
What Are the Main Types of Gum Cysts?
In some cases you might have a dental abscess and not a cyst, which can look and feel quite similar. If you do have a cyst there are several types, such as the following:
- Mucocele cysts or ‘mucous cysts’
- Periapical cysts, which people also call odontogenic cysts, the most common type
- Dentigerous cysts, which are the most common on the lower wisdom teeth and upper canines
- Odontogenic tumours, which may grow and will require a biopsy
You will probably be unable to tell the type of cyst you have yourself, so a proper diagnosis will require the help of a dental professional.
What Are the Treatments for Gum Cysts?
Cysts can be diagnosed by sight upon examination or through the use of dental X-rays. The following treatment options are available for gum cysts:
- Home care: If you have a small cyst or have only just noticed it developing then home remedies can prevent the issue from getting worse. Treatments include simple hygiene, antibacterial mouthwash and brushing. Do not try popping a cyst at home.
- Surgical removal: Severe, large and badly-infected cysts may require surgical treatment. With a local anaesthetic, the dentist can surgically remove any type of cyst from any position in the mouth. Gum cyst removal surgery is a reliable treatment.
- Root canal treatment: A root canal, or endodontic therapy as it is also called, may be used to treat an infected tooth that is also the main cause of a cyst. With the infection taken care of, any remaining cysts are much more likely to heal by themselves.
The best treatment will depend on the circumstances. A dentist can diagnose the type of cyst a patient has and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Do Gum Cysts Go Away Without Treatment?
Gum cysts may resolve themselves with your regular oral hygiene routine. If you have been camping, at a festival or otherwise have fallen into a stretch of not-so-great oral health habits, a cyst could form as a result. For most people, resuming good hygiene will prevent the cyst from getting worse and it is easy to manage without additional treatment.
For a better chance of the cyst resolving itself remember the following tips:
- Do not irritate the cyst: The irritation of a brush, food and anything else that touches the cyst can irritate it and potentially make it worse. When brushing, try gently grazing the area where the cyst is located and do not press down too hard.
- Do not lick or ‘tongue’ the cysts: It can be tempting to lick or itch an annoying cyst with the tongue. However, this is more likely to irritate the cyst and can also cause it to rupture in your mouth, which can be very unpleasant!
Small cysts can come and go without a person noticing them, which is because cysts are similar to a spot, pimple or boil, so you might not feel or otherwise detect them on the gum tissue.
What Does a Gum Cyst Look Like?
Gum cysts look like a small, raised bump or spot on the gums. Cysts are typically red, purplish or slightly grey coloured, depending on the type and severity. It is possible to have more than one cyst or a cluster of cysts near a problem area – such as adjacent to an infected tooth.
Gum Cysts Explained
Gum cysts are fluid-filled sacs in the mouth that occur due to bacteria collecting in the gums. Cysts are most common around areas such as infected teeth but may occur anywhere in the mouth. Most gum cysts will resolve themselves with home care but some will require surgery.
We have a wide range of treatments available at our Brighton and Hove clinic, so we are an ideal source of information on gum cysts and many other dental issues. Please feel free to contact us and book an appointment.