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Redwood City, CA
81 Birch Street, Redwood City, CA 94062.
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Santa Clara, CA
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What is Lateral Periodontal Cyst, and How to get rid of it?

When talking about teeth-related issues or diseases, people usually lament about tooth sensitivity, cavities, gum disease, and cracked teeth. However, there are a lot of other problems a person can encounter when it comes to oral health. 

One of those rare or “obscure” conditions is Lateral Periodontal Cyst (LPC). In this post, we explore what an LPC is, its causes, and how to get rid of it. 

What is Lateral Periodontal Cyst? 

LPCs are non-inflammatory and non-keratinized cysts of developmental origin found lateral to the root of a vital tooth. Usually, it is asymptomatic and might be spotted on a routine radiographic examination. 

Standish and Shafer reported the first case of Lateral Periodontal Cyst in 1958, and later in the same years, Holder and Kunkel followed suit. Since then, there have been hundreds of well-documented LPC cases in the dental literature. 

Causes of LPC

So why do they arise? The exact cause of the lateral periodontal cyst is still unknown. However, some theories suggest that it may develop as a result of an inflammatory process or an odontogenic epithelial rest that is present in the periodontal ligament.

Here are some other possible causes or factors that may contribute to the development of LPC:

  • Trauma: Trauma to the affected area may cause a focal inflammatory response that could lead to the development of the cyst.
  • Infection: An infection in the periodontal ligament may also trigger the formation of an LPC.
  • Developmental defect: LPCs may also result from a developmental defect in the dental tissues. LPC can occur accidentally as a tooth erupts due to flaws in tooth formation.
  • Accumulation of pus: LPC can also develop due to the buildup of pus in the gums. 
  • Genetic factors: Some genetic factors may make some people more susceptible to developing LPCs.
  • Age: LPCs tend to occur more frequently in adults over the age of 52.

Signs and symptoms of LPC

LPCs are usually painless but can cause tenderness and swelling in the affected area. 

Observable clinical signs of a lateral periodontal cyst include soft-tissue swelling within or just below the interdental papilla

On radiographs, the LPC comes out as a well-defined oval, round, or somewhat tear-drop shape. In rare instances, possible implications include loss of lamina dura, loss of enamel and dentine of bordering teeth, and enlargement of the periodontal ligament space. 

Under the microscope, the Lateral Periodontal Cyst appears as a cystic activity with an extremely thin layer of epithelium around its margin and supported by connective tissue. Mostly, no inflammatory cells are present; however, in some rare cases, the fibrous capsule may exhibit slight inflammation. Lastly, numerous transparent cells rich in glycogen might be present in plaques or the epithelium layers. 

Diagnosis of LPC

The diagnosis of an LPC is necessary when the cyst location is confined to the anterior maxillary tooth roots, the periodontal segment of the tooth, or around mandibular premolar roots. 

The diagnosis is predominantly based on radiographic findings. Histopathological studies and analysis are employed to differentiate between LPC and other cysts resulting from inflammatory causes or potential keratocystic odontogenic tumours. Once a confirmed diagnosis is established, treatment is carefully planned and administered to prevent the recurrence of the lesion.

Treatment: Getting rid of it

Fortunately, in most cases, LPC is relatively harmless. However, if the cyst grows to the extent that it makes life uncomfortable for you or begins threatening the adjacent tissues, then treatment is necessary. 

This is where oral surgeons in Palo Alto come in handy as the cyst is removed surgically.

The surgical removal of a lateral periodontal cyst (LPC) involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: The first step is to administer local anesthesia to numb the area around the cyst and the affected tooth. 
  2. Incision: Once the area is numb, your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue overlying the cyst. The size and shape of the incision will depend on the size and location of the cyst.
  3. Accessing the cyst: The surgeon will then use a small surgical instrument to carefully separate the surrounding gum tissue from the cyst to gain access. 
  4. Removal of the cyst: Your surgeon will use a surgical instrument to remove the entire LPC and any associated inflamed tissue. The cyst will be sent for histopathological examination to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any malignancy.
  5. Closure: Once the cyst has been removed, the surgeon will carefully clean the area and close the incision using sutures. Sometimes, a small drain may be placed to allow any excess fluid to drain from the surgical site.
  6. Post-operative care: You will be given instructions on how to care for the surgical site, including how to keep the area clean and avoid irritating the incision. Antibiotics and pain medication may also be prescribed as needed.

Follow-up: Lastly, you will be scheduled for follow-up appointments to monitor healing and ensure that the cyst does not recur. The follow-up frequency may vary depending on the individual case.

Prevention of LPC

Observing oral hygiene and seeing the best periodontists in Palo Alto at least bi-annually are significant steps in preventing LPC and other common dental diseases. Teeth that remain healthy rarely ever have cysts developing near or around them. 

Gingivitis vs. Periodontitis: What You Need to Know about Gum Health

You have probably heard the terms “Periodontitis” and “Gingivitis” before. They both refer to dental problems, but what precisely do they mean? In simple terms, they are stages of the same condition: gum disease. This post highlights the differences between gingivitis and periodontitis, their key symptoms, and how a Redwood City dentist can help address these oral conditions. 

Gingivitis: The first stage of gum disease

Gum disease is highly prevalent in the US. According to the CDC, 50% of adults age 30+ suffer from some level of gum disease. Most of these people likely have gingivitis, a typical and mild form of gum disease that leads to gum irritation, redness, and swelling. 

Gingivitis symptoms can be so subtle that many people are unaware they have them. But just because the symptoms you are experiencing are mild, it doesn’t mean you are safe. If not addressed early, gingivitis can turn out to be a serious form of oral disease.

The most prevalent cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Taking steps to keep your gums and teeth clean is the best prevention there is. Plaque can build up fast if you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly, as advised by your dentist. In simple terms, plaque is usually a buildup of bacteria, food particles, and mucus on your teeth. When left unchecked for long, it will turn into tartar. Tartar is virtually impossible to remove without professional teeth cleaning and might cause tooth decay when left untreated.  

Besides poor oral health, several other things can lead to gingivitis. Medications, diabetes, tobacco use, poor nutrition, and hormonal changes are among the prevalent causes. 

Periodontitis: Advanced gum disease

Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that harms the soft tissue and may even tear down the bone that anchors your teeth. Periodontitis can easily cause tooth loss and has been associated with an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.  

Fortunately, periodontitis is preventable. Like gingivitis, it is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. Thus, brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting the best dentist in Redwood City bi-annually can help you avert the onset of periodontitis.

Symptoms of periodontitis may include loose teeth, bad breath, gums that pull away from your teeth, pus between teeth and gums, and swollen teeth. If you discern any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is advisable to see your Redwood City dentist immediately. There are measures that your dentist can take to prevent the spread of the disease. Therefore, the sooner you act, the better. 

The causes and risk factors of periodontitis are akin to those of gingivitis. But the results can be more serious. As we mentioned, asthma, poorly controlled diabetes, stroke, cancer, tooth loss, and other illnesses have been linked to periodontitis. Research has shown that the bacteria that cause periodontitis can enter your bloodstream, affecting the heart, lungs, and other body parts. 

Obviously, neither form of gum disease is better, but periodontitis is, without a doubt, worse than gingivitis. Prevention is encouraged when it comes to gum disease, and proper oral hygiene is the best bet. 

Treatment for gingivitis

You must pay attention to your oral care routine if gingivitis is detected. At least brush your teeth twice a day with a dentist-recommended toothpaste and floss at least once a day to get rid of debris and plaque from your teeth’s surfaces.

Also, avoid using tobacco, which can not only lead to gum disease but aggravate its symptoms. Compared to non-smokers, smokers have a twofold increased risk of developing gum disease. Lastly, the importance of a professional cleaning conducted by the best dentist in Redwood City cannot go unmentioned. 

Treatment for periodontitis

Treating periodontitis usually takes more time and expertise. For instance, you will want to consult a periodontist as they are better positioned to offer treatments linked to periodontitis. Some of the common treatments for periodontitis include: 

  • Scaling and root planing – A type of deep cleaning that gets rid of plaque and tartar developing above and below the gum line
  • Antibiotic therapy – Non-surgical procedure for healing oral infections following a deep cleaning
  • Gum grafting – Surgical procedure that entails replacing dead tissue via donated material.

The sooner your gum disease symptoms are addressed, the better!

Gum disease doesn’t just fade away with time, particularly in the case of periodontitis. Note that even a mild case of gingivitis must be carefully monitored by the dentist to stop it from aggravating into a severe issue. As for periodontitis, advanced dental care is necessary, as permanent damage can occur if the infection isn’t controlled on time. 

Remember, if you notice anything unusual with your teeth or gums, that’s enough reason to give your family dentist in Redwood City a call.