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Eruption Cyst in Children: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

May 16, 2024 | 3 min read

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An eruption cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms in the gum tissue above an erupting tooth. While they usually don't require treatment, dental intervention may be needed if the cyst becomes infected or delays tooth eruption. 

Understanding eruption cysts and maintaining regular dental check-ups are crucial for managing this condition effectively.

Eruption Cyst

What Is an Eruption Cyst?

An eruption cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms in the gum tissue above a tooth that is about to emerge. It occurs when fluid accumulates between the crown of an erupting tooth (the part of the tooth that will be visible once it breaks through the gums) and the surrounding dental follicle.

Eruption cysts are harmless and usually resolve on their own as the tooth erupts.

Common Locations

Eruption cysts can form over any erupting tooth but are more common with primary (baby) teeth. They often appear over the molars, especially the lower ones, due to the larger size and pressure these teeth exert on the gums.

However, they can also occur over incisors and canines.

Prevalence

Eruption cysts are relatively uncommon. They are more frequently observed in children between the ages of 6 and 9, as this is when the first permanent molars typically erupt.

According to the NCBI publication, eruption cysts are rarely observed in newborns, as tooth eruption at this stage of a child’s life is unusual.

Symptoms of Eruption Cysts

Eruption cysts are small, balloon-like bumps on the gums, often bluish, yellow, white-tinged, or clear. They sit directly above the erupting tooth and are soft to the touch. These cysts are usually visible during the teething process. 

If the cyst contains blood, it is called an eruption hematoma, which looks darker and more purplish. Both types are harmless and usually resolve on their own as the tooth erupts.

Eruption cysts are generally not painful but can cause mild discomfort or tenderness in the gums. Symptoms may include:

  • Mild swelling around the cyst
  • Tenderness when touched or during chewing
  • Slight gum color change around the cyst

Typically, these symptoms are minor. If there is significant discomfort, bleeding, or signs of infection, consult a dentist. 

For more guidance on managing your child's symptoms, use the Symptom Checker for Kids to identify health concerns and seek appropriate care, but remember, online tools are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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Causes of Eruption Cysts

Eruption cysts form when fluid accumulates between the crown of an erupting tooth and the surrounding dental follicle, creating a small, balloon-like sac in the gum tissue. This sac cushions the emerging tooth as it pushes through the gums.

The exact cause of eruption cysts is not always clear, but several factors can contribute to their formation:

  • Inflammation: Swelling and inflammation in the gums can lead to fluid accumulation around the erupting tooth.
  • Trauma: Injury to the gums from teething toys or other objects can trigger cyst formation.
  • Irritation: Continuous irritation from chewing or biting can cause fluid build-up in the gum tissue.
  • Infection: Bacterial infections in the gums may lead to the development of cysts.
  • Overcrowding: When teeth are closely packed, there may be less space for them to emerge, increasing the likelihood of cyst formation.
  • Dental Decay: Cavities and decay in primary teeth can sometimes contribute to the development of eruption cysts.

Treatment of Eruption Cysts

Self-Resolution

Most eruption cysts resolve on their own without any intervention. As the tooth continues to push through the gums, the cyst typically bursts naturally, releasing the fluid and allowing the tooth to emerge. 

This process usually occurs within a few days to weeks, depending on the tooth's growth rate. Parents should monitor the cyst for signs of resolution and maintain good oral hygiene to support the process.

Dental Intervention

In some cases, a dentist may need to intervene, particularly if:

  • The cyst does not rupture on its own.
  • There are signs of infection, such as pus or severe swelling.
  • The eruption of the tooth is delayed significantly.
  • The child experiences considerable discomfort.

Common procedures for treating persistent eruption cysts include:

  • Unroofing: The dentist makes a small incision in the cyst to drain the fluid and relieve pressure, facilitating the tooth's eruption.
  • Minor Surgical Interventions: In rare cases, more extensive surgical procedures may be necessary to remove dense or fibrous tissue blocking the tooth's path.

Post-Treatment Care

After treatment, it is essential to follow proper aftercare guidelines to ensure healing and prevent complications:

  • Oral Hygiene: Encourage gentle brushing and flossing to keep the area clean.
  • Pain Management: Use over-the-counter pain relievers as recommended by the dentist to manage discomfort.
  • Monitoring: Keep an eye on the treated area for signs of infection or recurrence.
  • Regular Check-Ups: Schedule follow-up visits with the dentist to monitor the tooth's eruption and overall oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Key Takeaways

  • Eruption cysts are fluid-filled sacs that form in the gum tissue above an erupting tooth.
  • They can appear bluish, yellow, white-tinged, or clear and are usually harmless.
  • Eruption cysts are more common in children aged 6 to 9, though they can occur in babies.
  • Most eruption cysts resolve naturally as the tooth emerges, but some may require dental intervention.
  • Regular dental check-ups are crucial for monitoring and managing eruption cysts.
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