Eruption cysts, also known as eruption hematomas, are a dental condition that affects children as their teeth grow in. Here are four things parents need to know about this condition.
What are the signs of eruption cysts?
If your child has an eruption cyst, you may notice a raised bump on their gum tissue. This bump tends to be oval-shaped and either purple or blue due to the blood within the cyst cavity. If you press on the cyst, you'll notice that it is soft and easily compressed. These cysts can form before your child's deciduous (baby) teeth erupt or before their permanent (adult) teeth erupt.
The cyst may be asymptomatic but not always. Eruption cysts can bleed, cause pain, or even become infected. They can also cause aesthetic problems if they are in a highly visible part of your child's mouth.
What causes eruption cysts?
Eruption cysts are linked to the eruption of teeth through the gum tissue, but exactly why these cysts form still isn't known. It's known that the follicle, the sac that contains a developing tooth as it forms, becomes dilated and allows fluid to build up between the top of the tooth and the gum tissue above the tooth, but the cause of this process is less clear.
Many theories have been proposed. Cavities in the baby teeth or trauma to the area may lead to the formation of these cysts. Crowding of the teeth that doesn't allow room for the new tooth to erupt may also cause these cysts.
How are they treated?
The treatment for eruption cysts varies based on how much they are affecting your child. If the cyst is asymptomatic, your dentist may recommend leaving it alone. These cysts tend to go away by themselves once the tooth erupts through the gums. Your dentist will monitor your child to make sure the tooth erupts on schedule and the cyst goes away.
If the cyst is painful or bleeding, it can be treated. A minimally invasive treatment is drainage. To do this, the dentist will numb the area around the cyst with an injection of a local anesthetic. Next, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue and into the cyst below it. The fluid or blood from within the cyst will drain and will be suctioned up by the dentist. The tooth will then be exposed to make it easier for it to erupt.
If the cyst doesn't go away after the tooth grows in, further treatment will be required. This may mean that your child has a similar, yet more serious, condition known as a dentigerous cyst. These two types of cysts look the same under a microscope, so it's hard for dentists to distinguish them. The usual treatment for this condition is removal of both the cyst and the affected tooth. Your dentist will let you know if your child's tooth needs to be extracted due to their cyst.
Are eruption cysts common?
The exact prevalence of eruption cysts is unknown. As eruption cysts are generally asymptomatic and go away by themselves, it's likely they are underreported to dentists. More studies need to be done to figure out how common these cysts are among the general population.
Studies of patients who do seek treatment have shown that most reported cases occur in people in their first decade of life. One study reported an average age of 4.44 years.
If your child has a blue or purple lump on their gums, take them to a dentist right away for an examination. to determine whether it's a harmless eruption cyst or a potentially more serious condition.
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