Which of the following cysts can be described as heart-shaped by radiographic examination?
oral pathology, cysts, dental hygiene exam prep

Which of the following cysts can be described as heart-shaped by radiographic examination?

Which of the following cysts can be described as heart-shaped by radiographic examination?

(A.) Globulomaxillary cyst
(B.) Herpes
(C.) Simple bone cyst
(D.) Nasopalatine canal cyst

oral pathology, cysts, dental hygiene exam prep

Answer: (D.) Nasopalatine canal cyst

A nasopalatine canal cyst appears within the nasopalatine canal or the incisive papillae and arises from remnants of nasopalatine ducts. The lesion is most commonly seen in adults between 40-60 of age and has a strong predilection for males. The cyst is usually asymptomatic and adjacent teeth stay vital. A small bulge may appear near the apices of the maxillary centrals on the lingual surfaces. Radiographically the cyst appears:

  • Well-defined
  • Radiolucent
  • Heart-shaped (this is the result from the anatomic Y-shape of the canal)

Nasopalatine canal cysts require surgical enucleation but recurrence is rare.

A globulomaxillary cyst is also well-defined and appears radiolucent. But the cyst is usually located between the maxillary lateral and cuspid, and is described as pear-shaped (not heart-shaped).

A simple bone cyst (also called traumatic bone cyst) is a cyst that usually occurs as the result of trauma. The cyst appears as a well-defined radiolucent lesion characterized by scalloping around the roots.

Herpes result from the infectious herpes virus. The tiny vesicles appear on keratinized mucous fixed to bone (hard palate and gingiva) only. Prodromal symptoms such as pain, burning or tingling precede the appearance of vesicles. The lesions disappear without scarring in 7 to 14 days.

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Written by
Claire Jeong, RDH, MS
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