Cysts of the Jaw – Classifications


Cysts of the Jaw

In This Article, we explain the definition of Cysts, its appearance radiologically, etiology, general classification and types.


Cysts  is a fluid-filled epithelial-lined pathological cavities in the jaws bones and soft tissue of the face, floor of the mouth and the neck. It may cause either intraoral or extraoral swellings that may clinically resemble a benign tumor.
Cysts of the Jaw

Cysts of the Jaw

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Radiology of the cysts

  • Classically cyst appears as a well defined radiolucent area circumscribed by a radiopaque margin.
  • Most cysts are unilocular , however keratocyst usually has a multilocular appearance.
  • Cysts usually do not cause resorption of the roots of teeth, but it causes displacement.


  • The stimulus that causes resting epithelial cells to proliferate forming cyst is not exactly known .
  • Inflammation seems to play a major role in those cysts arising in granuloma from infected dental pulp.
Cysts of the Jaw

Cysts of the Jaw


This Classification is the proposed revision of WHO Jaw Cyst Classification.


  • Odontogenic
    • Odontogentic Keratocysts (Primodial Cyst).
    • Follicular Cyst (Eruption Cyst).
    • Alveolar Cyst of infants (Gingival Cyst in Adults).
    • Developmental / Lateral Periodontal Cyst.
  • Non-Odontogenic
    • Midpalatal cyst of infants.
    • Nasopalatine duct cyst.
    • Nasolabial cyst.


  • Inflammatory follicular cyst.
  • Radicular cyst.
  • Inflammatory lateral periodontal cyst


Types of Cysts

cysts can be divided into three types according the its epithelium origin:

  • Odontogenic epithelim: Epithelium responsible for tooth formation, read more.
  • Non-odontogenic epithelium: oral epithelium entrapped along lines of fusion of the embryonic processes to form jaws, read more.
  • Pseudocysts: Differ from true cyst in that they lack an epithelium lining , read more.


Difference between True Cyst and Pseudo-cyst  can be explained by Dr. Varun Pandula from Juniour Dentist:

Cysts are Pathological cavities that contains (fluid, semi Fluid or gas) which is either lined by epithelium (True Cyst) or not lined by Epithelium (Pseudo-cyst).

Difference between a Cyst and Neoplasm


  • Sac filled with fluids or gas
  • Will usually feel soft.
  • Will usually feel soft.
  • Lining by epithelium.
  • Painless.
  • Slow growing.
  • Mainly benign.
  • Rarely cause resorption of adjacent tooth but mainly causes displacement.


  • Solid Mass of tissues.
  • Often Hard.
  • May appear as a thin layer of flattened stratified squamous epithelium like.
  • Tend to be painful.
  • Rapidly growing.
  • Either benign or malignant.
  • Causes resorption of adjacent teeth.


Common Type

Four types of cysts constitute 95% of all epithelial  jaw cysts are frequently those that attain considerable size before they recognized:
  • Follicular ( dentigeorus ) cyst.
  • Nasopalatine cyst.
  • Radicular cyst.
  • Keratocyst.

In The Next part of Cysts of the Jaw, we will explain about  Odontogenic Cysts.


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About Author

Dentist and Guest Author on OziDent. He earned his BDS in 2011 from Ibn Sina College, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia with honors. Currently working as a Demonstrator in Umm al-Qura University, Makkah, Saudi Arabia. His Goal is to be a Maxillofacial surgeon. In His Free time he enjoys Photography and Trying different Cuisine.

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