Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




College of Dental Medicine

First Advisor

Michael Cuenin

Second Advisor

Robert Gellin

Third Advisor

Zachary P. Evans


Purpose: To review 173 diagnosed gingival cyst of the adult cases and develop clinical and histopathological descriptions while comparing data consisting of sex, age, and location to the existing literature. Background: The gingival cyst of the adult (GCA) is an uncommon developmental odontogenic lesion, which is most frequently found in the mandibular incisor, canine, and pre-molar regions of the free mucosa or attached gingiva. Often, GCA are misdiagnosed due to the limited clinical and histopathologic features distinguishing them from their intraosseous counterpart, the lateral periodontal cyst, and other nodular cysts of the oral mucosa. Methods: The present retrospective review evaluates 173 gingival cysts of the adult from 172 patients diagnosed by the Medical University of South Carolina Oral Pathology Laboratory from the year 2002 through 2018. A clear definition describing where the lesions arose was developed. Clinical and histopathologic features of GCA and data representing sex, age, and location predilections were analyzed and compared to the existing literature. Results: GCA had the strongest presence in Caucasian females in their 6th and 7th decades of life. They were most commonly found in the incisor, canine, and pre-molar regions of the mandible and were often misdiagnosed as mucoceles. Conclusion: GCAs are true cyst that arise from the rests of Serres of the dental lamina during tooth development. Histopathological evidence of a thin, 1-3 cell layer, epithelial lining with or without focal plaques containing clear cells can be seen. GCAs were more commonly found in the mandible (79%) than maxilla (21%). Females were 3.5 times more likely to develop a GCA than males and the 7th decade of life was the most common era in which gingival cysts were diagnosed. Comprehensive clinical exams, current radiographs, and histopathological data are required to differentiate between GCA from lateral periodontal cysts, and/or other nodular gingival lesions. Treatment of GCA most commonly consists of conservative surgical excision and recurrence is rare.


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