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Cyst on the Gums in Dogs

Dentigerous Cyst in Dogs

A dentigerous cyst is essentially a cyst that forms around a tooth. It consists of a sac filled with fluid, resembling a blister, which develops from the tissue surrounding the crown of a tooth that fails to emerge properly. This condition can affect any breed predisposed to issues with tooth eruption, such as boxers and bulldogs. It typically manifests in the lower jaw’s first premolars and may occur on both sides (bilateral). Diagnosis usually occurs if the teeth remain unerupted by six months of age, although the cyst may not manifest until later, if at all.

Symptoms and Types

Symptoms and types of a dentigerous cyst may encompass the following:

  • Absence of a tooth
  • Development of a soft swelling at the location of the absent tooth, frequently filled with fluid
  • Possible signs of a pathological fracture in the lower jaw resulting from cystic damage to the surrounding bone, often without prior warning of an issue
  • Initially subtle cystic changes may not be readily noticeable


Failure of teeth to erupt.


Your veterinarian will examine for an oral mass, which is a benign tumor that forms at the root of a tooth. Tooth structures, either complex or compound, may be enclosed within a cystic structure, where the tooth is encased in gum tissue resembling a sac, albeit with varying degrees of organization. Radiographic imaging is crucial whenever there are missing or unerupted teeth and is commonly employed to obtain a definitive diagnosis. Radiographic findings might reveal evidence of a radiolucent cyst, which is invisible to x-rays, originating from the remaining enamel organ at the tooth’s neck and surrounding the crown, forming a halo.


If a mature animal has an embedded tooth, the veterinarian will assess any cystic structures or other abnormal changes associated with the tooth. Continued observation may be recommended if surgical extraction would cause significant bone damage. In cases where a cystic formation exists, surgical extraction will be advised by the veterinarian, with complete removal (debridement) of the cystic lining. If the jawbone is damaged, synthetic bone replacement may be considered. Pre-operative antimicrobial and pain management therapy will be administered as needed, with careful patient monitoring and support during anesthesia. In instances of abnormal tooth growth, especially if the tooth is non-essential, extraction is advisable, even in the absence of cystic changes.

Living and Management

Failure to diagnose and treat a dentigerous cyst may lead to a pathological fracture of the jawbone. However, if this condition is identified early and managed properly, the prognosis is favorable.

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