Hundreds of years ago, our wisdom teeth were a vital feature of our mouths. Because our diet was so difficult to digest, we would spend quite a bit of time chewing our food. This would cause our teeth to become worn down and when we became young adults, our wisdom teeth would erupt. In today’s era, however, it seems like our wisdom teeth are simply looking for new ways to be antagonizing. In addition to impaction and pericoronitis, both complications that can occur due to the wisdom teeth, we here at Madison Oral Surgery & Dental Implants also see instances of cysts and tumors developing at the site of the wisdom tooth follicle.
What is a Follicular Cyst?
Follicular cysts are also called “dentigerous cysts.” These are cysts that form at the site of a wisdom tooth impaction. While these are often not dangerous, they can be quite painful. A follicular cyst forms around an impacted wisdom tooth and generates a clear fluid that surrounds the affected tooth.
Symptoms of a follicular cyst can include discomfort, swelling, and tooth loss. They are more common in patients who are between 20 to 30 years of age. Treatment for a follicular cyst may vary depending on the size of the cyst. A smaller cyst can be removed, and the affected tooth may also need removal. A larger cyst may need a special procedure performed called “marsupialization”. This means that the cyst will first be drained, then sutures will be placed at the surgical site to help prevent the cyst from coming back.
Risk Factors for Ameloblastoma
While rare, impacted wisdom teeth and untreated follicular cysts can also lead to a type of odontogenic tumor that can form in the follicle of the tooth. Odontogenic means that the tumor came out of normal cells in the mouth. These tumors are normally benign, which means that they are not typically cancerous.
In some cases, though, they can become cancerous. Even though they are not considered cancerous tumors, they grow quickly and spread fast. If they do not get treated quickly, they can spread to other parts of the body, as well, including the lungs.
These tumors are not usually painful. They can be found in people generally between the ages of 30 and 60, but they can also affect people outside of this age bracket. Treatment for ameloblastoma typically requires surgery. Because this tumor is so aggressive, bone and gum tissue may need to be removed. Teeth may also require extraction. Reconstruction of the tissue is often needed after removal of the tumor.
In many cases, it can be wise to remove the wisdom teeth as soon as they start to develop in late adolescence. This may be recommended to the patient, even if the wisdom teeth are not causing problems at the time. This could be advisable because the risk of complications occurring later in life, while rare, can be quite serious.
If you would like to learn more about cyst and tumor development, or you are interested in scheduling an appointment with us here at Madison Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, please give us a call at (608) 960-7650 today!
The doctors of Madison Oral Surgery & Dental Implants would like to inform you of the enhanced safety protocol developed for our office in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with recommendations from the CDC, OSHA, American Dental Association, and local government, we have enhanced our already stringent protocols for hygiene and safety.
All patients and staff wear masks
All patients and guests are screened with a COVID-19 questionnaire and temperature check prior to admission to our clinic lobby. Hand hygiene is performed before entry.
All personnel have twice daily temperature checks
To allow for social distancing, we have reduced the number of patients and guests in the office at one time and spaced the seating in our lobby appropriately
Allow more time for disinfecting between patient encounters
Increased disinfection of frequently touched surfaces including counter tops, handles, lobby seating, and bathroom surfaces
New, single use pens to avoid germ sharing between patients and personnel
Procedural personnel wear N95/KN95 masks and face shields
MEET THE MADISON ORAL SURGERY & DENTAL IMPLANT TEAM AND SEE OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19