Care at Mayo Clinic for jaw tumors and cysts

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Mayo Clinic's experts in oral and maxillofacial surgery work together with prosthodontics and other specialists as needed to provide care tailored to your needs.

Having all of this expertise in a single place, focused on you, means that you're not just getting one opinion — your care is discussed among the team, your test results are available quickly, appointments are scheduled in coordination, and highly specialized experts are all working together to determine what's best for you.

In addition, when needed, Mayo offers supportive care from professionals such as dietitians, speech therapists, swallowing therapists, physical therapists, and specialists who make artificial replacements for missing teeth or other damaged natural structures in the mouth (prosthodontists).

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic patients have access to the latest imaging and diagnostic tools available. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will usually oversee your care at Mayo.

Treatment options for jaw tumors and cysts vary, depending on your symptoms, the type of lesion you have and the lesion's stage of growth. In rare cases, medications may help, but they usually require surgical management.

A pathologist examines the removed tissue during surgery and reports a diagnosis within a few minutes, so that the surgeon can act on this information immediately.

Examples of jaw tumors and cysts treated at Mayo Clinic include:

  • Ameloblastoma. This is a rare, slow-growing, usually noncancerous (benign) tumor. It develops most often in the jaw near the molars and can invade local structures such as bone and soft tissue.
  • Keratocystic odontogenic tumors. Also called odontogenic keratocysts, these slow-growing, benign cystic tumors can be destructive to local structures and often recur. Most often the cyst develops in the jaw near the third molars. These tumors may also be found in people with an inherited condition called nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.
  • Nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome. Also called Gorlin-Goltz syndrome, people with this condition lack a gene that suppresses tumors. The genetic mutation that causes the syndrome is inherited. This syndrome results in early-age development of multiple basal cell skin cancers and keratocystic odontogenic tumors in the jaw.
  • Odontoma. This is a benign tumor made up of dental tissue that grows around a tooth in the jaw. Odontomas can resemble an oddly shaped tooth or can be small or large calcified tumors. These may be part of some genetic syndromes.
  • Odontogenic myxoma. An odontogenic myxoma is a rare, slow-growing, benign tumor that occurs most often in the lower jaw and soft tissue. The tumor can be large and aggressively invade the jaw and surrounding tissue. Odontogenic myxomas can reoccur after treatment.
  • Central giant cell granuloma. Central giant cell granulomas are benign lesions that most often occur in the front portion of the lower jaw. The tumor's rapidly expanding growth can destroy bone. Rarely, a tumor may shrink or resolve on its own, but generally it increases in size without treatment. Management may be medical, surgical or both.
  • Other types of cysts and tumors. These include adenomatoid odontogenic tumors, calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumors, ameloblastic fibromas, dentigerous cysts, glandular odontogenic cysts, squamous odontogenic tumors and calcifying odontogenic cysts, to name a few.

Lifelong, regular follow-up exams after treatment can address any recurrence of jaw tumors and cysts early.