Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Cysts and Tumors

Cysts and Tumors

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital are experts in evaluating, diagnosing and treating cysts and tumors in and around the jaw, which may include both benign tumors and cysts as well as malignant tumors.

The mouth and jaws are comprised of many different types of tissues, such as bone, glands, mucosa and muscle. Because of this, they are more vulnerable to abnormal growth, especially for those who put themselves at risk. A person who uses tobacco products and/or alcohol is at higher risk of developing cysts and tumors. Other risk factors include:

  • Irritation caused by ill-fitting dentures
  • Poor nutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Rough surfaces on teeth

How to Detect Cysts and Tumors

Cysts and tumors inside the mouth are often easily detected. Signs and symptoms that something abnormal is in or around the jaw and teeth include:

  • A lump or thickening of the tissues
  • A sore that does not heal and bleeds easily
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing and/or swallowing
  • Reddish patches known as erythroplasia
  • Whitish patches known as leukoplaki

Our surgeons will help determine a diagnosis by doing a full medical history along with a thorough physical examination of the jaws, mouth and teeth.

Treatment for Cysts and Tumors

There are several tests that can determine what type of cysts and/or tumors is in and around the jaw and teeth, if any. Some testing options include a Biopsy, Computed Tomography (CT) or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

  • During a biopsy , a small sample of the growth is removed and studied under a microscope to help make a diagnosis.
  • A CT scan is a test where a thin X-ray beam rotates around the patient, allowing a computer to analyze the data and create a cross-sectional image.
  • An MRI is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnets and radio waves to create clear, detailed images of the brain.

Once the cyst or tumor is determined to be benign or malignant, the surgeon determines a course of treatment. The Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital offer a full range of surgical treatment options that can remove the cyst or tumor. In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy may also be recommended.

For more information on cysts and tumors or for a referral, call 713-790-3333.