Hearing that your child has an eruption cyst can be alarming. But your child's dentist can help to treat this lesion and answer any questions you have about this oral growth.
What Is an Eruption Cyst?
This type of cyst is a benign, developmental cyst, as a study in Medicina Oral Patologia Oral y Cirugia Bucal (MOPOCB) describes. It is a bluish lump that can appear when a primary or permanent tooth is in the process of erupting. The lesion tends to arise in the front teeth and molar regions, although it can be found anywhere along the dental arch. In the past, dental professionals would refer to these cysts as dentigerous cysts. However, they now have their own diagnosis.
The reason as to why eruption cysts arise is unknown, according to the MOPOCB study. Some research suggests that early cavities, trauma, genetics or a lack of space for the tooth to move into can result in their formation. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) explains that eruption cysts form from the separation of the dental follicle from the crown of an erupting tooth, which is then filled with fluid. When this fluid is blood (created from trauma to the cyst), it's called an eruption hematoma. Currently, there is no clear consensus on their diagnosis, and information regarding this lesion is limited.
Because these cysts are associated with erupting teeth, they tend to arise in the first two decades of an individual's life, as the MOPOCB study explains. The average age of patients with eruption cysts is 7 years old. There's also no consensus regarding whether females or males are more likely to develop this cyst. Overall, the prevalence of eruption cysts is greater between 7 and 13 years than between 0 and 6 years, according to a study in the Journal of Istanbul University Faculty of Dentistry.
Eruption cysts are often asymptomatic, as the MOPOCB study notes. In fact, the only sign that your child has one of these cysts may simply be seeing it in their mouth. Even X-rays may not be able to detect this soft tissue lesion. Your child may experience dull aching when chewing. If you're concerned about any symptoms or the appearance of the cyst, contact your child's dentist.
As the AAPD guidelines describe, an eruption cyst is typically self-resolving. In most cases, the erupting tooth will emerge successfully through the cyst into the oral cavity.
If the cyst does not rupture on its own or if it becomes infected, it may require treatment. The most common approach is simple surgical removal, according to the MOPOCB study. In these cases, the tooth at the site of the cyst will typically erupt within a few weeks after surgery.
Although they may look abnormal, an eruption cyst is typically a harmless finding that can be readily managed with your dentist or oral surgeon. Regular dental exams and coming prepared with a list of questions can help you ease your nerves if you think you or your child has a cyst.