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Jaw cysts are growths that tend to develop slowly and for many people, will only show up on an X-ray or scan during a dental appointment. Sometimes though they can get infected and painful or pose a threat to nearby teeth and need to be removed.

Removing the cyst is usually a relatively straightforward operation that our specialist surgeons perform at a number of our premium hospitals around the UK.

Why you might need it

Cysts may never present a problem but if they get infected they can become very painful. Large cysts can also damage teeth nearby and, occasionally, they can get so big that they cause the jawbone to fracture.

Regular checks and X-rays from your dentist will show any developing cysts but physical symptoms may include:

  • pain or swelling around your jaw area
  • a lump in the jaw
  • persistent tooth infections in one particular part of the jaw.

While the NHS offers excellent care in this area you may find it hard to see a consultant quickly unless your symptoms are very severe. If you have private medical insurance or are willing to pay for the operation yourself, we can help. You may be referred to one of our respected surgeons via your own dentist or GP, or we may be able to arrange a private appointment for you. We can also aim for you to see one of our specialised consultants within a few days of your referral to us.

If you decide to have your procedure with us, you will be looked after by an experienced multi-disciplinary care team.

Who will do it?

Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care. To us, that means you can choose the consultant you want to see, and when you want. They'll be with you every step of the way.

All of our consultants are of the highest calibre and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.

Our consultants have high standards to meet, often holding specialist NHS posts and delivering expertise in complex sub-speciality surgeries. Many of our consultants have international reputations for their research in their specialised field.

Before your treatment

You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.

We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.

Preparing for your treatment

We've tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.

For more information on visiting hours, our food, what to pack if you're staying with us, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information pages.

Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.

The procedure

We understand that having surgery can be a time of anxiety, even for a relatively straightforward operation like this one. Our experienced and caring medical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way.

Most jaw cysts are removed under a local anaesthetic, so you will usually be able to go home the same day. If the cyst is very large, however, you may need a general anaesthetic which means you'll be asleep during the procedure. Your consultant will discuss this with you beforehand.

The cyst is removed through a small incision inside the mouth and the space that is left behind is cleaned out. If it is very large, or has caused damage, the surgeon may also remove some teeth, roots and a section of jawbone. Afterwards the cyst will be sent to a special pathologist for analysis.

The whole procedure usually takes up to 1 hour.

Aftercare

You will probably be able to return home the same day but if you had a general anaesthetic you will be taken from the operating theatre to a recovery room, where you will come round from the anaesthesia under close supervision. 

After this, you will be taken to your room or comfortable area where you can rest and recuperate until we feel you’re ready to go home. 


Pain relief

Your jaw will be sore after the operation and you may have some temporary bruising and swelling. We will give you pain relief medication while you’re with us and to take home with you. If you need them, continue taking painkillers and antibiotics as advised by the hospital. It is normal to experience some swelling and jaw stiffness, which often increases over the first two or three days but then starts to improve.

We will provide you with a supply of all the medicines your consultant feels you need to take home with you after you've left hospital, up to 14 days. This may be at an additional cost to some patients.


Recovery time

You should arrange to take a day or two off work. It may take a while before you get the feeling back in your jaw and you won’t be able to chew properly so avoid eating for a few hours after surgery. Hot drinks should also be avoided because you could easily burn yourself. Stick to soft foods for a day or two after surgery, gradually returning to your normal diet when your jaw feels back to normal.

Don’t rinse your mouth out until at least 24 hours after surgery, but after this it’s a good idea to rinse regularly with salt dissolved in warm water. When brushing your teeth, avoid the healing wound for the first couple of days.

Your jaw will probably feel stiff for a few days but this is normal.


How your loved ones can help

Ask a friend or loved one to stay with you for about 24 hours after the procedure in case you need any help around the house - it’s possible you may feel sick and light headed for a day or two.


Looking after you

We’re with you every step of the way through your recovery, even after you’ve left hospital.

After your operation we will provide you with all the appropriate medication, advice on what you should and shouldn't do, and any other follow-up support you need. You may also be offered a date for a follow up appointment.

Your consultant will talk to you about the possible risks and complications of having this procedure and how they apply to you. On rare occasions, complications following surgery can occur. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to call us:

  • bleeding that doesn’t stop when you apply pressure, or that lasts for more than half an hour
  • severe pain that is not improved by painkillers
  • your face continues to swell three days after the operation
  • fever or high temperature
  • difficulty breathing or swallowing.

If you have any questions or concerns about your recovery, we're ready to help.

How much does it cost?

A fixed price for this treatment may be available on enquiry and following an initial consultation.

We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.

Important to note

The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.