Jaw Tumors and Cysts

Jaw Tumors and Cysts

Jaw tumors and cysts are uncommon growths or lesions that arises  in the jawbone or the soft tissues in the mouth and face. They are also known as odontogenic tumors and cysts. Variation can be in  size and severity. These lesions are not aggressive usually and benign in nature. Sometimes it can invade the surrounding bone and tissue and may displace teeth.


Symptoms of this condition depends upon the type of cyst and it’s manifestion. Some jaw tumors and cysts types are:

  • Ameloblastoma: it’s quite common, slow-growing, usually benign tumor. It develops most often in the jaw near the molars and can invade local structures such as bone and soft tissues. Recurrence rate is high.
  • Central giant cell granuloma: Central giant cell granulomas are benign lesions that most often occur in the front portion of the lower jaw.These tumors presents with severe pain as they destroy bones Recurrence rate is high after surgical resection.
  • Dentigerous cyst: This cyst originates from tissue that surrounds a tooth before it erupts into the mouth. It mostly involve wisdom tooth.
  • Odontogenic keratocyst: Also known as keratocystic odontogenic tumor because of its tumorlike tendency to recur after surgical treatment.There’s high association of this tyoe of tumor with inherited condition known as nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.
  • Odontogenic myxoma: This is an uncommon slow growing tumor affecting lower jaw mainly. These tumors can be aggressive destroying surrounding structures. Recurrence is seen after surgical treatment.

Odontogenic jaw tumors and cysts arises from the tissues and cells which undergo routine and normal tooth development. Nonodontogenic tumors can also arise from the tissues in the jaw that are not related to tooth development.

People with nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome, also called Gorlin-Goltz syndrome, have deficiency of a tumor suppressor gene because of genetic mutation resulting in the appearance of  multiple odontogenic keratocysts within the jaws, multiple basal cell skin cancers and other characteristics.


For the diagnoses of this condition detailed medical history and complete general physical examination of patient is required. Along with this some tests and procedures are done such as:

  • Imaging studies, such as X-ray, CT or MRI
  • A biopsy to remove a sample of tumor or cyst cells for laboratory analysis

Treatment options mainly include following:

  • Mostly surgical care is given to the patient having jaw cyst. Medical therapy is also an option and usually it’s given additively with surgical procedures.
  • Reconstruction surgery of destroyed structures.
  • Medical therapy for less severe type of tumors
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