Oral Surgeons and Gum Cysts

Do you have a cyst in your gum? Has a trained dental specialist recommended that you remove the tooth to prevent it from re-occurring? Are you agonizing over such a decision?

I have experienced this situation. It’s important to think very carefully before you make a choice that you’ll regret later in life.

About twenty years ago, my dentist asked me to visit an oral surgeon due to a cyst in my gum. The professional I visited suggested cleaning out the cyst. Not desiring to lose any teeth, I agreed and the procedure was shortly thereafter performed.

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Ten years passed and the cyst returned, Once more I found myself in a dental office. This time I was informed that the tooth should be removed. I disagreed with the recommendation and asked for another opinion. The second dental surgeon supported the first and I wondered whether I should follow their advice. After all, ten years is a long time. If the gum around the tooth is cleaned out every ten years (if that is what is required), then it’s a small price to pay for keeping all of my teeth which are designed to last a lifetime.

It was at this point that I decided to take control of my own dental health. I visited a third oral surgeon and requested that he clean out the gum. He was reticent to say the least. The fellow didn’t like the idea of a patient deciding what was best for his own health and the oral surgeon firmly made the point that it was much cheaper to remove the tooth. As I was the one who had to live with the decision, not him, I stated I would pay the extra cost to save my own teeth. Apparently it seems that procedures that don’t pay the surgeon thousands of dollars are frowned upon and overtly discouraged. The request of the patient is surpassed by the greed of some dental professionals.

Nonetheless, he relented after realizing that my mind was made up. The procedure was performed with one condition placed by him, that if the cyst returned I would not visit ‘him’ again for the procedure to clean it out.

On the day of the actual procedure, the ‘professional’ threw a tantrum in front of his assistants after I was given sedation and said ‘ouch’. Before I fell asleep, he stated “since you said ‘ouch’, I think I shouldn’t perform the procedure. His assistants were shocked. I was in no condition to speak and within a minute or so became unconscious.

When I woke up, the procedure had been performed, and one of his assistants was with me. She agreed that what had occurred was ‘unprofessional’ and had no explanation for his attitude. Several minutes passed before the oral surgeon entered the room. No apology for his poor behavior was offered. Instead, I was given some brief advice, a prescription and sent on my way.

I had been traumatized by this so called ‘professional’ and wrote him a letter to vent my frustrations with his loathsome conduct. I never received a reply. To this day, by using salt water rinsing, the cyst has not returned (about ten years have passed once more).

If you remove any teeth, your entire bite structure will shift as you age resulting in instability and future problems. Of course you might consider implants, which are hugely expensive and require several procedures. The ‘cheapest’ method will result in you suffering the consequences, not the ‘professional’ who is making the recommendations.

I strongly urge anyone who visits a medical or dental professional to keep a tight rein on them. Ultimately, you are the person in charge of your body.

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  1. I totally agree. I am fed up with doctors, dentist and other medical professionals not listening to the patients. We know our bodies better. The fact we have to get referrals and we can’t just go to specialist if we already know we need to is ridiculous and a waste of time and money. Greedy people…

  2. Hi, interesting read.. I just wen t today to the dentist due to severe pain coming from a crown where a root canal was done years ago. The dentist showed me the xray and i have a huge huge cyst deep at the end of the root.. it’s so big that it is under 3 teeth now. He told me he can’t do the root canal on it because the Cyst is too big and i need to get surgery on it and have the cyst removed.

    There’s definitely some huge risks that are going to come along with this he told me theres a cavity right near that tooth and when the cyst is removed that tooth might die etc etc i’m really worried about losing some teeth already had one pulled a long time ago and didn’t like it.

    But the pain from this cyst is way too insane i didn’t even sleep last night and i took 2 vicodins few hrs ago and still am in tons of pain! I don’t see any other way to get this cyst out then to have the oral surgery..wondering if you have any thoughts?

  3. Hi Charles,

    My thoughts would be to have the cyst removed and the cavity fixed while you are sedated. Your teeth can be saved and if a tooth needs a root canal, you can have that performed if and when it’s required. The problem you describe with your crown does not surprise me. I know some people who have crowns and they have had problems as well. Attend to your cyst ASAP. Tell the surgeon you want to save your teeth. You don’t need to suffer.

    Best Wishes.

  4. I just had surgery to remove a cyst from my gums. To close the gums completely he graphed some skin from my palate. I got stitches in the front and in the back. I am concerned because color of the gums near two of my teeth is bluish. Is this normal? I am very scared to say the least. I called the dentist office but have not received a call back.

  5. Jenny, in order to know if what you’re seeing is normal, contact the office of the person who did the procedure and ask. If they don’t call back then try several times and ask for someone else. Otherwise contact your dentist or a different dental office and seek out answers. Don’t wait too long and good luck.

  6. How long does the procedure take, i am going into hospital on Monday to have 2 cysts removed (my dentist wanted to romove the tooth and i said no and did not even see the other one). Getting nervous about this now and decided to look for info

  7. Chris, the procedure took about 1 hour in my case however it was several hours before I awoke – when it’s over it’s like nothing happened – just take your tylenols and relax – i actually wanted to drive home but of course they wouldn’t let me – I wish you well – Let me know how it goes.

  8. How big was your cyst? Is it keratocyst which has a high recurrence rate? My doc told me to remove both front teeth (enucleation = cut the cyst out with extraction of associated teeth) as the cyst (about 1cm) is located in my gum between the root of both front teeth. He said if I dont remove my teeth now (just enucleation), the bad cell might remain on the root after the surgery which lead to recurrence in couple of years. Then, I might need to cut out a bigger gum area and losing 4 front teeth when the cyst recurrence I am really worried of losing my front teeth. any suggestion?

  9. How big was your cyst? Is it keratocyst which has a high recurrence rate? My doc told me to remove both front teeth (enucleation = cut the cyst out with extraction of associated teeth) as the cyst (about 1cm) is located in my gum between the root of both front teeth. He said if I dont remove my teeth now (just enucleation), the bad cell might remain on the root after the surgery which lead to recurrence in couple of years. Then, I might need to cut out a bigger gum area and losing 4 front teeth when the cyst recurrence I am really worried of losing my front teeth. any suggestion?

  10. Hi ,,,
    I made a crown for 4 times. The first crown was made becuase of tooth decay by DOCTOR (A) the second crown was made for another decay by DOCTOR (B), then the tooth started gathering food inside that couldnt be removed by flossing, so it got inflamed, so DOCTOR (C) repeated the crown with another bad crown that I had to floss so deep and insert an injection filled with gargling liquid, so I went to DOCTOR (B) and this time it was really bad, he made new high crown, I went to him to make it shorter but he went to vaccation!!!!! I couldnt live so I had to return to DOCTOR (C) who tried to make it shorter but with no result, so he took the crown off and he told me it was wide, not tall !!! so he repeated the crown and i think its still high until today and gum behind it always get inflamed and some times i fee the tooth gets higher …


  11. a year ago my dentist found a cyst in my gum too between 2 teeth. i have not been able to afford any procedures for it and now it is noticeable on the fron t of my gum i suspect that means it has grown. i’m wondering if thats the case or if it has possibly started draining. i keep swishing with peroxide and waarm salt water and i’m not sure if thats helping. it does seem to have gone down some in size.

  12. Marcia, the cyst may shrink in size however it usually does not go away completely and does need to be cleaned out. I suggest you save up for the procedure and have it done asap. You don’t want it to get out of hand. You should also look around for a dental surgeon or dental training school that can offer you the service at a less expensive rate. Perhaps your place of work has a dental plan that also covers some of the cost.

  13. Liu, removing teeth in addition to the cyst does not guarantee that the cyst will not return. It still can form again. That’s why you should clean out the entire area where the cyst is and keep your teeth. Some ‘professionals’ use scare tactics to try to get you to follow their advice. The final choice rests with you as it is your body and you will have to live with the decision.

  14. wow i didnt knew somany ppl hav same problem ,i am in 20s n facing same problem cyst above front teeth ,the problem is its so big ,God knows how many docs i hav visited n how many different opinion i hav heard ,my both front tooth r dead from a long time n r really orangy yellow now ,got root canal done few yrs ago ,but not helping cyct which is growing
    now even after cyst removal surgery chances r 50 50 for it to come back ,some doc say get rct again n surgery than some say only surgery n than some say just frankly remove tooth but replace it with wat?
    as i dun hav teeth’s root there so cant have implant n bridge also have to wait
    i am so confused

  15. Two weeks ago, I went to the dentist because of pain and swelling of the lower left side of my gums. After the x-ray, I was told that I had a huge cyst in my gums that it is necessary to have two teeth extracted immediately. I was hesistant, of course, as I still have a complete set of teeth and asked if it is possible to undergo a root canal instead. The dentist said a root canal cannot help anymore in this case as the cyst is rather huge and needs to be removed asap. With much hesitation, I agreed to have my two teeth extracted last week. The dentist removed the cyst and cleaned out the area after the extraction. After an hour, I was sent home and asked to come back the following day to clean and dress the wound. When I got home, I noticed that the bleeding won’t stop – I thought this is normal since it was Day 1.

    I went back to the dentist on Day 2 and when she removed the gauze and tried to dress the wound, the wound in my gums started bleeding profusely. She said she would try to stop it by putting medicated gauze, told me to change the gauze after 30mins and put on a new one if bleeding hasn’t stopped. And should it continue to bleed over the weekend, I should go to the hospital!

    While it did not bleed over the weekend, the pain did not go completely. I went back Monday afternoon and told her about the pain and the swelling. It was not bleeding anymore. She dressed the wound and asked me to come back after two days. Immediately after the wound was dressed and put medication, I felt an excruciating pain in the area. I thought it would go away soon after as the gauze was removed, changed and the would was somehow re-opened. Four hours after and I still feel the same excruciating pain in the area!!! If the pain does not go away overnight, I am definitely heading to the hospital!

    Having your tooth (or in my case, teeth) removed because you trust that the dentist’s advice is only looking after your dental health should always be taken seriously and with much consideration. My gut told me not to do it but my cognition told me, she (the dentist) knows what’s best – thus, leading to my excruciating pain and misery now!!!

    I say, go and seek a second, third, fourth opinion of dental specialists.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story Missy. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience and hope your pain subsides. If only you could have read my article before you had the procedure. No one deserves to be miserable.


  18. When I was young I fell off of my bike and ruined my front tooth and the one next to it. My dad went the cheap way and put crowns in when the dentist suggested a bridge. I have had nothing but problems, infections, chipping of the crowns, etc. Now that I am 23 and have my own insurance I have decided to go to a new dentist, that I have good feedback from. I was having pain above the side crown and in my opinion, they were poorly designed. All of my teeth are paper-white and naturally straight except for these 2. One turned greyish blue and the other started to “deteriate”! I went into Dr Russo’s office to figure out a plan and get a cleaning. He did the x-rays (didn’t charge me for them because my old dentist wouldn’t release them). He found a cyst the size of a pea and came up with a plan that was cost effective with my insurance. He sat down with me and explained everything and asked if I wanted to begin that very same day. Considering a 3 part bridge, the oral surgery to remove the cyst and a full mouth cancer screening (vescope) my cash payout would be $1100.00, I agreed. He immediatly gave me the numbing shots. He waited approximately 7 minutes in between numbing each section. During the wait, the hygienist came in and observed my gums, called off some numbers, (I think checking for periodontal disease or gingavitas) and did the cancer screening. The staff here at this dental office were very nice. The nurse assigned to me stayed in the room with me and chatted while I waited for the dentist to come in. He did his thing, stitched me up, and fitted a temporary bridge (that looks BETTER then the crowns!) The nurse even had everything all ready so I didn’t even have to stop at the front desk. She had my prescription forms, reciept and procedures to follow in an envelope.

    I am in Canton, Ohio, This dentist office is DentalWorks, Dr Russo. I wish you could all experience what I did with a dentist.-

  19. Thanks for sharing your stories Hurtin and Matt. If only we could grade the people with whom we entrust our health. Even the best trained person can make mistakes as we are all human. Keeping the errors to a minimum is certainly the desirable outcome. It’s the people who don’t care who should be removed from the profession. When it comes right down to it, there should be universal dental and medical care for all for free. We all pay enough taxes and health is the most important thing we all cherish. Perhaps one day our collective voices can change the course of the dental and medical professions through the governing process.

  20. I agree with you 100%. My hsband had a bad accident 7 years ago and he lost most of his teeth. Doctors and surgeeon have been experimenting on him ever since. He had crowns fitted in and very expensive procedures , 3 times operated on for refusal of some procedures done etc. Now he has a cyst! the story is neverending.

  21. Hi! I had a cyst removed from my top gum yesterday. The first thing I did when I came round from the opp is check my teeth had not been removed. They where still there! :) before my opp imy first surgeon refused to save my teeth so I got a second opinion and although the doctor was snotty with me she agreed with me to save my teeth as I stressed to her that my confidence would be ruined if my teeth were to be removed. on the day of my opp I had to sigh a form to say if they can not get to the cyst proper they will remove my two side teeth close to the front of my mouth. I needed the cyst gone so I signed the paper work but then burst into tears at the thought of maybe waking up and having missing teeth. The surgeon revised how important it was to me and decided to keep my teeth but was extremely cross with me. But I’m happy now even if my face is extremely swollen today after the opp. So my advise would be keep your teeth if you want to, they are your teeth and its your confidence that’s affected after. X

  22. Great to hear your story Bea. You’ve taken a large step into a new world. One where you take control of your own destiny. I hope your cyst does not return. It’s a shame to see how attitudes have yet to change in the medical / dental profession even after all these years. It’s going to take time however one by one we’ll win them over no matter how long it takes. Don’t ever let anyone force you again into signing a document against your will. You should consider lodging a formal complaint against the ‘professional’ for what they did.

  23. I think I have one but I’m not sure. I should have an oral surgeon in Mesa AZ, but I’m scared of going to the dentist and this is more scary! It sounds like things can get pretty out of hand if I don’t go though. Thanks for the advice and everyone’s follow up comments. I guess it’s best to just get it taken care of now.

  24. Thanks for reading my article and all the follow-up comments Stacey. You should feel empowered to take charge of your own dental / medical health. Respected dentists provide various treatment options and possible results. The only dentists / oral-surgeons you should be afraid of are those that do not respect your opinion and your decision. It’s your choice, not theirs as they do not have to live with the result. If you don’t like the options presented, find another dental professional and do not allow yourself to be bullied. Let me know how it goes. Keep smiling.

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