Dentigerous Cyst in Dogs

Information below intended for veterinarians.
Some photos may be graphic.

Why is it important to do a complete oral exam?

The dentigerous cyst oral lesion develops from ectodermal tissue and is usually the result of an accumulation of components of a developing tooth follicle where the tooth has failed to erupt. A failure of a tooth to erupt is termed an embedded or impacted tooth. If the crown is covered with soft tissue but not bone, it is called an embedded tooth. If a tooth in maloriented and completely covered by or in contact with bone or other tooth structure and has failed to erupt, it is termed an impacted tooth.

When surgically treating a dentigerous cyst, it is important to radiographically identify the unerupted tooth, remove it and debride the debris from the cyst wall. The lesion can be treated early in life by operculectomy (uncovering the tooth by removal of the tissue with electrosurgery or diamond bur) or by extraction of the affected tooth. If treated soon after the expected eruption period, much bone destruction and the need for more complicated surgery can be avoided.

Dentigerous CystThe most common teeth involved

Mandibular first premolar teeth . . . 305 & 405


When to diagnose?

How to diagnose?


When teeth are missing . . . always take a radiograph


(Missing tooth/teeth)

Dentigerous Cyst

A dentigerous cyst caused by an embedded 305 & 306

Dentigerous Cyst


Operculectomy vs Extraction


Uncovers the tooth to allow eruption and to prevent cystic fluid accumulation, but could recur.

Dentigerous Cyst


Eliminates the problem but the tooth is lost, (forntunately, this is a non-strategic tooth).

Dentigerous Cyst



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