Dentigerous Cyst
What is a Dentigerous Cyst?

The second most common tooth-derived cyst is the
dentigerous cyst, which develops around the crown of an
unerupted tooth.

What are the causes of dentigerous cysts?

It most frequently is found in areas where unerupted teeth
are found:
wisdom teeth and upper jaw canines, in
decreasing order of frequency.

What are the signs & symptoms of dentigerous cysts?

These cysts can grow very large and can move teeth but,
more commonly, they are relatively small.

dentigerous cysts are asymptomatic and their
discovery is usually an incidental finding on taking an X-ray
of the mouth.

Dentigerous cysts can become quite large and can place
the patient at risk from a pathological jaw fracture.
Photos of dentigerous cysts and their associated teeth
Jaw X-ray (OPG) showing a very large dentigerous cyst
(yellow dots) & tooth (red dots) in the lower right jaw
How is it treated?

Teeth that have dentigerous cysts associated with them are
removed together with the

cysts are sent off for closer scrutiny under the

Once removed, they are very unlikely to come back.

Impacted teeth with small areas of shadowing around their
crowns (suggesting the presence of normal
dental follicle
rather than
dentigerous cyst) also may be monitored with
serial X-rays.  Any increase in the size of the ‘shadowing’
should prompt removal and microscopic analysis.
Dentigerous Cysts - Key Features

  • Arise in bone & contain the crown of an unerupted
    tooth which is usually displaced
  • Are most frequently associated with unerupted 3rd
    molars (wisdom teeth) and canines
  • Clinical & radiographic features usually provide an
    accurate pre-operative diagnosis but confirmation is
  • Responds to enucleation or marsupialisation and
    does not recur after treatment
  • May be mistaken radiographically for an odontogenic
    keratocyst or ameloblastoma
Useful Articles:

Radiographics 1999.  Cysts & Cystic Lesions of the

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry.  
Cysts of the Jaws

Power Point Presentation about the Origin of Odontogenic
Cysts & Tumours
Last Updated 18th August 2010