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Jaw tumors and cysts

  • Overview


    Jaw tumors and cysts are uncommon formations or lesions that arise within the jawbone or the soft tissues of the mouth and facial region. These growths, categorized as odontogenic or nonodontogenic based on their origin, can exhibit diverse sizes and degrees of severity. Although typically benign, jaw tumors and cysts have the potential to be locally aggressive, leading to bone, tissue, and teeth displacement or destruction.

    The approach to treating jaw tumors and cysts depends on factors like the specific type of growth, its developmental stage, and the associated symptoms. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specializing in mouth, jaw, and facial conditions can address these issues through surgical intervention, medical therapy, or a combination thereof, tailored to the individual case. Their expertise ensures effective management and potentially includes surgical removal, medical treatment, or a strategic blend of both modalities.

  • Symptoms


    A tumor is an atypical mass or growth of tissue, while a cyst is a fluid-filled or semisolid lesion. Jaw tumors and cysts encompass various types, such as:

    1. Ameloblastoma: This infrequent, usually benign tumor originates from cells forming the enamel lining on teeth. Commonly located near molars, it often exhibits an aggressive nature, forming sizeable tumors that infiltrate the jawbone. Aggressive surgical intervention can reduce recurrence risks.
    2. Central giant cell granuloma: Benign lesions originating from bone cells, these granulomas mainly develop in the lower front jaw. Some forms grow rapidly, causing pain, bone destruction, and recurrent tendencies post-surgery. Others are less aggressive and might be asymptomatic.
    3. Dentigerous cyst: Arising from tissue enveloping a tooth before eruption, this common jaw cyst often surrounds impacted wisdom teeth, occasionally affecting other teeth.
    4. Odontogenic keratocyst: Slow-growing but potentially destructive, this cyst commonly appears near lower jaw third molars. Its recurrence tendency highlights the need for treatment.
    5. Odontogenic myxoma: Uncommon but invasive, this slow-growing tumor primarily affects the lower jaw, often requiring aggressive surgical intervention to limit recurrence.
    6. Odontoma: The most prevalent odontogenic tumor, it may obstruct tooth development. Odontomas consist of dental tissue encircling teeth within the jaw and can resemble misshapen teeth or calcified growths.
    7. Others: Varieties like adenomatoid odontogenic tumor, calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor, glandular odontogenic cyst, squamous odontogenic tumor, calcifying odontogenic cyst, cementoblastoma, aneurysmal bone cyst, ossifying fibroma, osteoblastoma, and central odontogenic fibroma also exist.
  • When to see a doctor


    Abnormal symptoms may be a warning sign of potential dangerous diseases. Please contact our team of doctors immediately for detailed advice and update the most accurate and appropriate health care method.

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  • Causes


    Jaw tumors and cysts of odontogenic origin emerge from cells and tissues involved in regular tooth formation. Additionally, nonodontogenic jaw tumors can arise from unrelated jaw tissues like bone or soft cells. While the exact cause of these growths is often uncertain, certain instances are linked to genetic mutations or syndromes.

    Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, also known as Gorlin-Goltz syndrome, stems from a genetic mutation that inhibits tumor suppression genes. This inherited syndrome leads to multiple odontogenic keratocysts in the jaws, along with basal cell skin cancers and other distinctive features.

  • Risk factors


    Several factors can contribute to an increased risk of developing jaw tumors and cysts. While these growths are relatively rare, understanding the potential risk factors is important for early detection and management. Some notable risk factors include:

    1. Age: Certain types of jaw tumors and cysts are more prevalent in specific age groups. For instance, ameloblastomas often affect individuals between 20 and 40 years old, while odontomas are frequently diagnosed in young people under 30.
    2. Gender: In some cases, gender may play a role in susceptibility. For example, central giant cell granulomas are more commonly found in females, while odontogenic keratocysts tend to affect males more often.
    3. Dental Health: Poor oral hygiene and dental health practices may contribute to the development of jaw tumors and cysts. Chronic dental infections, gum disease, and dental trauma might increase the risk.
    4. Genetic Factors: Genetic syndromes, such as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome (Gorlin-Goltz syndrome), are associated with a higher risk of developing specific jaw tumors and cysts. These inherited conditions can predispose individuals to these growths.
    5. Environmental Exposures: Exposure to certain environmental factors, such as radiation, chemicals, or toxins, may increase the risk of jaw tumors and cysts in some cases.
    6. Previous Jaw Conditions: A history of certain jaw conditions or lesions, such as impacted teeth or previous cysts, might elevate the risk of developing new growths.
    7. Family History: Individuals with a family history of jaw tumors, cysts, or certain genetic syndromes may have an increased susceptibility.
    8. Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperparathyroidism or Paget’s disease, could be associated with an elevated risk of developing jaw tumors and cysts.
    9. Hormonal Factors: Hormonal changes, particularly during puberty, pregnancy, or other hormonal fluctuations, may contribute to the development of certain types of jaw growths.
  • Prevention


    While the exact causes of jaw tumors and cysts are not always well understood, adopting a proactive approach to oral health and well-being can potentially reduce the risk of these growths. Here are some strategies that may help in the prevention of jaw tumors and cysts:

    1. Oral Hygiene: Maintaining excellent oral hygiene practices, including regular brushing, flossing, and routine dental check-ups, can minimize the risk of dental infections and other conditions that might contribute to the development of jaw tumors and cysts.
    2. Dental Care: Timely removal of impacted or unerupted teeth and proper management of dental conditions can reduce the chances of cyst formation. Regular dental visits allow for early detection and treatment of potential issues.
    3. Nutrition: A balanced and nutrient-rich diet supports overall oral health. Adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and vitamin D, can contribute to strong teeth and bones, potentially reducing the risk of cysts and tumors.
    4. Avoiding Environmental Toxins: Minimizing exposure to environmental toxins, such as radiation and certain chemicals, can help lower the risk of developing jaw growths. Individuals working in industries with potential toxin exposure should follow recommended safety guidelines.
    5. Genetic Counseling: If you have a family history of jaw tumors, cysts, or genetic syndromes associated with these growths, seeking genetic counseling may provide valuable insights into your risk and appropriate preventive measures.
    6. Hormonal Balance: Maintaining hormonal balance through healthy lifestyle choices and, when necessary, medical guidance may help reduce the risk of certain hormonal-related jaw growths.
    7. Early Intervention: Addressing dental and oral health issues promptly can prevent the progression of conditions that might lead to cysts or tumors. Regular dental visits enable early detection and intervention.
    8. Avoiding Tobacco and Alcohol: Steering clear of tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption can contribute to overall oral health and reduce the risk of oral lesions and growths.
    9. Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental examinations and X-rays can help identify potential abnormalities or changes in the jaw and oral tissues, allowing for timely evaluation and management.
    10. Awareness and Education: Being informed about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors of jaw tumors and cysts empowers individuals to seek prompt medical attention if any unusual changes or symptoms occur.
  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 06/08/2023