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Updated on July 26, 2022

Eruption Cyst Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

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What Is an Eruption Cyst?

Eruption cysts are bluish bumps that appear while a permanent tooth is erupting (breaking through the gum line).

Eruption cysts (also known as eruption hematomas) are benign cysts that form on the tooth’s mucosa. They are dome-shaped lesions, bumps, or bruises in the soft gum tissue. They appear translucent with a bluish-purple or reddish-brown hue.

mother cuddling her baby

Sometimes eruption cysts disappear on their own. However, they may hurt, bleed, or become infected.

If they do, surgical treatment may be necessary to drain the eruption cyst and allow the tooth to erupt through the gums.

In babies, eruption cysts are common, especially in the front teeth. In adults, they are more common in third molars (wisdom teeth). An eruption cyst may also surround a permanent tooth.

Eruption Cyst in Babies (Teething)

Babies' primary teeth form in a protective enclosure in the jawbone before they emerge through the bone, pierce the gums, and appear in the mouth.

An eruption cyst forms when the protective enclosure leaks fluid into the cavity between the tooth and gums before eruption.

Parents may notice a bluish-purple or dark reddish-brown lesion, bump, or bruise on their baby’s teething gums.

Eruption cysts usually form about four days before and up to three days after a tooth emerges.

Eruption cysts are common and usually heal on their own. As the baby’s tooth grows in, it will probably rupture the sac itself.

If the tooth doesn’t break through the layer of gum tissue within a few weeks, a general dentist may make a small incision to drain the cyst and expose the tooth so it can grow in.

Summary

Eruption cysts form on a tooth's mucosa. Although benign, they can be painful, bleed, or become infected. These commonly develop in an adult's wisdom teeth and the two front teeth of babies.

What Causes an Eruption Cyst?

An eruption cyst happens when fluid (sometimes mixed with blood) accumulates around an erupting tooth. Eruption cysts may seem to appear out of nowhere.

Like all oral cysts, they can form from sucking on the gums.

Symptoms of an Eruption Cyst

Eruption cysts can be unsightly and may be uncomfortable. Fortunately, most eruption cysts will rupture without causing any pain.

Here are some symptoms of an eruption cyst:

  • A bluish-purple or reddish-brown lesion, bump, or bruise over an erupting tooth
  • A tooth that is not growing in as it should
  • Bleeding, pain, or a foul smell in the mouth due to an infected eruption cyst

What Does an Eruption Cyst Look Like?

An eruption cyst is typically bluish-purple. It might appear reddish-brown if the fluid in the sac mixes with blood.

It’s typically a translucent dome of soft tissue that overlays an erupting tooth. It may also appear as a lesion or bruise.

Images of Eruption Cysts

Image of Eruption Cyst
Image of Eruption Cyst
Image of Eruption Cyst
Image of Eruption Cyst

Eruption Cyst Treatment

There aren’t many treatment options for eruption cysts because most of them should be left alone. They will likely burst on their own.

If the eruption cyst does not naturally disappear within a few weeks, a simple surgical incision may be necessary to drain the cyst. 

While this may sound scary, it’s a common procedure that’s usually done under local anesthesia and doesn’t require any downtime.

The dentist may also prescribe medication to treat any possible infections in the eruption cyst.

Summary

Eruption cysts are formed when fluid accumulates around an erupting tooth. They appear as reddish-brown or bluish-purple lesions. The cysts can bleed and cause pain and bad breath. They usually go away on their own. If they don't, a simple surgical incision may be needed to drain the contents.

How to prevent eruption cysts?

While there’s not much you can do to prevent eruption cysts, you can practice good oral hygiene to prevent an eruption cyst from becoming infected. Brush your teeth and gingiva twice a day, floss daily, and rinse your mouth with fluoride.

Do not poke or prod at the eruption cyst either. It’s best to leave it alone because trying to burst the cyst with germy fingers or dirty objects can lead to an infection.

Since cysts can occur from sucking, you may give your baby a pacifier or teething ring to prevent oral cysts from forming as easily.

How long do eruption cysts last?

Eruption cysts may last a few days or a few weeks but typically disappear on their own as the tooth erupts. If an eruption cyst does not go away within a few weeks, the dentist may make a small surgical incision to leak the cyst’s fluid so the tooth can break through. This is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any downtime.

Are eruption cysts painful?

Eruption cysts are typically asymptomatic and tend to go away on their own without treatment. Some eruption cysts may become painful and bleed if they get infected. In the case of an infected eruption cyst, a surgical excision may be necessary to drain the cyst, clear the infection, and relieve any pain. The dentist may prescribe medications to treat the infection and assuage uncomfortable symptoms.

How to treat an eruption cyst in a teething baby?

An eruption cyst in a teething baby will likely resolve itself within a few weeks as the baby’s tooth grows in. However, if the eruption cyst persists, the dentist may make a small incision to release the contents of the cyst and release the tooth so it can grow in properly.

7 Sources Cited
Last updated on July 26, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. Abudayyeh, Dr. “Rochester Dentist Explains Eruption Cysts in Teething Babies: Rochester, MN.” Calcagno Family Dentistry, 16 Oct. 2012, calcagnodds.com/2012/10/16/eruption-cysts-rochester/
  2. “Dental: Teeth and Gum Care for Infants and Toddlers.” Nationwide Children's Hospital, www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/dental-teeth-and-gum-care-for-infants-and-toddlers
  3. Dentist, Pediatric. “What Is an Eruption Cyst or Eruption Hematoma?” Pediatric Dental Center, 27 June 2012, pdconline.com/what-is-an-eruption-cyst-or-eruption-hematoma/
  4. Dhawan, Preeti, et al. “Eruption Cysts: A Series of Two Cases.” Dental Research Journal, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, Sept. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612207/
  5. Riverside Dental Group. “Eruption Cysts in Teething Babies.” Riverside Dental Group, 28 Jan. 2014, www.riversidedentalgroup.com/eruption-cysts-in-teething-babies/
  6. “Teething and Tooth Eruption Tampa, FL.” Tampa, FL, www.mykidsteeth.com/pediatric-dentistry/teething-and-tooth-eruption/
  7. “The Treatment of Oral Cysts.” Oral Cyst Treatments - Bolingbrook, IL Abscesses and Infections, www.suburbanoralsurgeons.com/blog/2017/05/14/the-treatment-of-oral-cysts-182245.
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